Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands it manages for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands. BLM management decisions regarding these and other activities potentially affect water resources. The purpose of the Soil, Water, and Air program is to minimize harmful effects to water resources from land use activities, and to improve and enhance water resources through management.
Water resources include surface water and groundwater sources. Water of sufficient quality and quantity is integral to the successful management of the public lands managed by the BLM. The quality of water generated on public lands is just as important as the quantity, for clean water is a necessary resource both for mankind’s uses and for ecosystem sustainability. Clean and adequate supplies of water are necessary to promote healthy watersheds, provide fish and wildlife habitat, maintain drinking water sources, allow safe recreational use of our surface water, and maintain healthy plant communities and wildlife habitats.
BLM’s Soil, Water, and Air program leads efforts to assess and restore water quality conditions, and to manage water resources on public lands. These activities include water quality measurement, remediation of water bodies not meeting state water quality standards, implementation of best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality, contracting with laboratories for analyses, and data interpretation and analysis.
Various laws, regulation, and policies provide BLM with the authority to manage water resources. BLM partners and coordinates with other federal, state, and local government agencies and tribes and conforms to applicable federal and state water laws and administrative claims procedures in managing and administering all BLM programs and projects, except as otherwise specifically mandated by Congress.