U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Lands and Realty
Purchase Using Land and Water Conservation Fund Appropriations
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is authorized to receive funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through annual Congressional appropriations. These funds are generally targeted to specific projects, including the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) or Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMA), to purchase land and interests in land for natural resource benefits, including open space, wildlife habitat and recreation. The LWCF program allows the BLM to purchase land needed to manage key natural resources, to acquire legal ownership of land to enhance the management of existing public land and resources, and to provide public access. First authorized in 1970, funding is limited to specific project areas. Major project areas include:
Purchase Using Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Funds
The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) became law on July 25, 2000. It provides for the use of revenues from the sale or exchange of public lands identified for disposal under land use plans in effect as of the date of enactment. The FLTFA does not apply to lands identified for disposal through land use plans or land use plan amendments approved after July 25, 2000. The revenue derived from FLTFA sales is split between the respective State (4%) for educational purposes or for the construction of public roads, and a special account (96%) available to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture for:
The FLTFA expired on July 24, 2010. On July 29, 2010, Congress passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to extend FLTFA for one year. Because of the break in FLTFA’s authority, the BLM lost all unspent land acquisition funding generated during the first ten years. The land acquisition account is slowly being rebuilt through deposits of revenue from land sale and exchange of public lands since July 27, 2010. Projects benefitting from FLTFA land acquisition funding include:
Bureau of Land Management
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Each BLM State Office has a FLTFA contact person familiar with the program and priorities in that State. Additional information is accessible through our links page.
Purchase Using Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act Funds
The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) became law in October 1998. It allows the BLM to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada. The revenue derived from land sales is split between the State of Nevada General Education Fund (5%), the Southern Nevada Water Authority (10%), and a special account available to the Secretary of the Interior for:
Other provisions in the SNPLMA direct certain land sale and acquisition procedures, direct the BLM to convey title to land in the McCarran International Airport noise zone to Clark County, and provide for the sale of land for affordable housing.
Additional information is accessible through our links page.
Easements for Conservation, Access Roads, Trails, and Improvements
Easements allow the government to control certain rights on private property that usually involve access or development. The lands remain in private ownership with limited rights owned by the government. Each easement is tailored to suit the particular property and the interests of its owners.
Acquiring easements provides access to "landlocked" public lands, allowing the BLM to construct road improvements for better management and increased public access, and allowing the landowner to maintain existing land uses while protecting the land from incompatible uses (through conservation easements).
Conservation easements protect land from subdivision and development, and rarely provide for public access. Though conservation easements are initially less costly for the Government than fee purchase, they do require perpetual "stewardship."
Purchase of Land and Easement Processing Steps
The BLM only acquires property from “willing seller” landowners. Once a landowner has decided to sell property to the BLM the first step in purchasing lands or easements is to assure that title is acceptable to the United States and that funds are available for the transaction. The property is then inspected to assure there are no hazardous materials or other unacceptable items on the land. The land is then appraised to determine the amount of the Bureau's offer to the landowner. If an easement is for a road or other improvement, the lands will be surveyed and analyzed to determine the most appropriate route before an offer is prepared. Once the offer to purchase is accepted by the landowner, the final step involves the preparation of a deed or easement document. Once the appropriate documents are signed, funds are transferred and ownership conveyed.