Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation

The BLM Fisheries Program

What We Manage

The BLM manages the Nation’s most ecologically diverse range of aquatic habitat, totaling more than 132,000 miles of fish bearing streams and rivers, over three million acres of lake and reservoir habitat and countless wetlands. From isolated desert springs to Alaska’s North Slope tributaries, BLM aquatic resources support public recreation and subsistence fisheries that sustain Native American cultural heritages and are critical for sustaining the Nation’s native aquatic biodiversity and sport fishing heritages including nationally significant recreational and blue ribbon fisheries such as Gunnison Gorge in Colorado, Lake Havasu in Arizona/California and the Rogue River in Oregon.

Cebola Creek, Gunnison Field Office, Colorado

The BLM Fisheries Program is responsible for providing support to all vertebrate and invertebrate organisms dependent upon BLM managed aquatic habitat. In close partnership with other federal, state, and non-governmental organizations, we implement an aggressive aquatic habitat conservation, restoration and sport fishing program.  
BLM public lands support hundreds of game, non-game, Bureau-sensitive, and threatened and endangered fish and other aquatic-dependent species and their habitats (such as fish, amphibians, mollusks, and macroinvertebrates). These include 127 federally-listed threatened or endangered aquatic species and 155 BLM sensitive species.

What We Do

The Fisheries Program focuses on native species conservation, aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability in collaboration with our private, federal, state and NGO partners. We do this through active and passive habitat restoration, restoring aquatic organism passage, addressing aquatic invasive species, an active research and monitoring program, and through education and outreach activities such as youth, family and veteran initiatives with local communities.

The Fisheries Program also provides critical internal support for other BLM and DOI programs and initiatives, such as energy development, riparian, threatened and endangered species, climate change, invasive species, wildlife, and healthy lands, which all require high quality BLM aquatic lands and associated ecosystems for sustainability.  
The BLM Fisheries Program works to:
  • Inventory, assess, and monitor aquatic and riparian physical and biological characteristics on public lands
  • Protect, restore, and enhance aquatic and riparian habitats and ecological processes
  • Assist in the recovery of threatened, endangered, candidate and other special status aquatic species and habitats.
  • Protect, maintain and restore natural aquatic ecosystem function, connectivity, and processes, such as water flow regimes and energy cycles
  • Prevent the introduction, limit the spread of, and eradicate non-native aquatic invasive species
  • Enhance anadromous fisheries by increasing habitat integrity and productivity in coastal drainages
  • Enhance the quality and quantity of recreational fishing opportunities on BLM managed lands
  • Manage aquatic habitats in a manner that facilitates restoration of riparian and wetland areas
  • Maintain and restore unobstructed routes of movement and passage for all species of native vertebrate and invertebrate aquatic organisms
  • Identify and implement cooperative projects and activities among BLM field and state offices, state agencies, other federal agencies, academic institutions, non-government and conservation organizations, private landowners and individuals.

Fisheries Brochures

Two brochures have been developed to further explain the BLM Fisheries Management Program and are available for downloading. Fisheries Program: Leaders in Fish Habitat Conservation describes BLM's fisheries program and the bureau's many conservation partnerships which focus on habitat conservation and restoration, monitoring, and fish passage improvements.  A second brochure on the National Aquatic Monitoring Center describes a cooperative agreement between the BLM and Utah State University to encourage watershed monitoring programs on public lands.  Click on the images to download the brochures.

Note: Case Studies provided in these links represent only a few of the thousands of on-the-ground projects conducted by BLM and its partners each year. For more information on field-level work, go to , find the map and click on the state you are interested in.  That will take you to the BLM State and Field Office websites.    

Habitat Conservation
Excavator placing boulders, Roseburg Field Office, Oregon.

Few resource agencies conduct fish habitat protection, restoration and enhancement on the same scale as the BLM. The BLM manages among the highest diversity of aquatic ecosystems and habitat throughout the nation.


Research and Monitoring
Radio-tagged Arctic grayling in Alaska

In order to make well informed decisions, the BLM must have accurate information on the conditions and trends of BLM’s aquatic resources. Thus, monitoring fish and invertebrate populations, fish habitat, stream conditions, and other environmental features is very important.


Mattole River Estuary, California

The BLM Fisheries Program depends heavily upon a multitude of conservation partnerships, ranging from the grass-roots to the national level. The Fisheries Program is proud to collaborate with recreational users, private groups, local communities, government agencies, and other people interested in BLM’s aquatic landscapes to serve in the process of aquatic habitat conservation.