2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities, we are increasing access and services to BLM-managed public lands, offices and facilities in a phased approach based on regional, state, and local conditions. Before visiting BLM-managed public lands, offices and facilities, please check the appropriate website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall BLM response to COVID-19 are posted at https://www.blm.gov/alert/coronavirus-advisory.

 

View the alert: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

Headquarters Move West

Grand Junction, Colorado

A map of BLM's 2018 administrative units with a large red start indicating Grand Junction, CO
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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a long and proud history of serving the nation by responsibly managing land and resources for the use and enjoyment of the American people. The BLM is responsible for managing public lands for a variety of uses such as energy and mineral development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting while ensuring natural, cultural, and historic resources are maintained for present and future generations.

Today, more than 99 percent* of those lands and programs are located in the Western half of the United States.

The BLM is relocating its headquarters functions and other supporting offices to the American West. This move will benefit the public we serve as well as the bureau and our employees.  Moving the people who make critical decisions about the lands and programs we manage will help provide a greater on-the-ground understanding and will also foster better partnerships with communities and organizations there. 

The BLM Headquarters move west means that most of the positions currently located in Washington, DC, will move to a new location. 

The BLM Director, Deputy Director of Operations, Assistant Directors, and a few members of their staffs will be located in Grand Junction, Colorado.

A forward looking wide view of the front entrance to the four story tall building

About 60 positions from programs with inherently DC-based responsibilities, like legislative, regulatory and public affairs, budget, and Freedom of Information Act compliance, as well as the Deputy Director for Policy and Programs will stay in the DC area.

More than 200 positions currently performing headquarters duties in the DC area will relocate to Western states where BLM has a significant presence.

Given the need for additional technical experience in the field, the Bureau will reassign 76 headquarters positions to perform critical duties within BLM State Offices.

Of all the resources we are entrusted to manage, the most valuable resource the BLM has is our dedicated, knowledgeable workforce. The quality of the important work the BLM does for the nation is due entirely to the dedicated, highly professional women and men who work for the organization, both in D.C. and in the field.  

While we hope all affected employees will be able to follow their positions to the new locations, we understand that the decision for most people has many factors. We are committed to making sure that all employees have the information and resources they need to make the best decision and will continue to work with employees to ease the transition.

Change is challenging but necessary and we believe this relocation will ultimately be the best decision for the bureau and its people as we move into the future.

To learn more about the BLM Headquarters relocation, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below.

*The 99 percent number applies to the 245 million acres of surface area the BLM manages. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate for the nation.

Frequently Asked Questions on the BLM Headquarters Move West

Why is the BLM Headquarters move west happening?

We believe that relocating the Headquarters functions of the BLM to the western half of the United States will benefit the public we serve as well as the bureau and our employees. The majority of the lands and programs the BLM manages -- 99 percent*-- are located in the West. Moving the people who make critical decisions about those lands and programs closer to the people and landscapes affected will help provide a greater on-the-ground understanding and will also foster better partnerships with communities and organizations there.

Additionally, the relocation of positions to the west would result in overall substantial savings for the BLM and for American taxpayers over time. Such savings include lower rent costs for office space, lower cost of living allowances paid to employees and a reduction of travel costs from D.C. to the west.

*The 99 percent number applies to the 245 million acres of surface area the BLM manages. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate for the nation.

There are many benefits of the move west, for the organization, employees and the citizens we serve including:

  • More decision-making authority in the field, closer to the lands the BLM manages;
  • Improved relationships with partners and better understanding of western communities needs because of day-to-day involvement;
  • Seasoned, more senior staff working closer to junior employees increasing opportunities for mentoring and training of future leaders; A reduced cost of living for many employees;
  • Greater integration of policy and operations personnel; and
  • General cost savings for the bureau because of less expensive office space, in most cases, and decreasing travel costs.

We believe that relocating the Headquarters functions of the BLM to the western half of the United States will benefit the public we serve as well as the bureau and our employees. With 99* percent of the lands the BLM manages as well as most of the programs and projects we are responsible for located in the west, moving the people who make the decisions about those lands, programs and issues closer to the people and landscapes affected will help provide greater partnerships and a greater on-the-ground understanding.

Being located closer will help us facilitate and improve relationships which will help us better meet their expectations about the management of public lands and resources.

*The 99 percent number applies to the 245 million acres of surface area the BLM manages. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate for the nation.

Most BLM employees will not be affected. Approximately 1-2 % will be asked to serve in a new location. In these cases, the position and the employee would be relocated west.

For these employees who are directly affected there are opportunities and benefits but also difficult decisions as some people will not be able to or will not choose to relocate to the western offices.

For employees who do choose to relocate, we are working hard to assist with the challenges of the transition through many programs including reimbursement of relocation costs, relocation incentive equal to 25% of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay and transition services.

For employees who are not able to or choose not to relocate, we are offering many services to assist with the transition including:

  • Counselors available every day to provide information on all possible options;
  • Résumé-writing and interviewing workshops;
  • Identification of vacancies for interested and qualified employees in the BLM nationwide and within the Department of the Interior in the DC area; and
  • Information on retirement options;
  • Training and assistance to pursue job opportunities through USAJobs.

The BLM Headquarters move west means that most of the positions currently located in Washington, DC, will move to a new location.

The BLM Director, Deputy Director of Operations, Assistant Directors, and a few members of their staffs will be located in Grand Junction, Colorado.

About 60 positions that have inherently DC-based responsibilities, like legislative, regulatory and public affairs, budget, and Freedom of Information Act compliance, as well as the Deputy Director for Policy and Programs will stay in the DC area.

More than 200 positions currently performing headquarters duties in the DC area will relocate to Western states where BLM has a significant presence.

Given the need for additional technical experience in the field, the Bureau will reassign 76 headquarters positions to perform critical duties within BLM State Offices.

We hope employees will be able to follow their positions to the new locations but there are many factors that an individual may consider when deciding whether or not to relocate, so, it’s difficult to say at this time exactly how many people will choose to relocate.

The timeframe is between November 1, 2019 through July 1, 2020.

On March 13, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for a “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” In particular, one of the goals of the order was to move decision-making out of the Washington, DC area and to move it closer to where the decisions would actually have impact. For the BLM, where 99* percent of mission areas lie in the Western US, the decision was made to consider reorganizing BLM to move more decision-making to those areas. This includes moving some national policy leadership functions to the West. Additionally, the lease on the current BLM Washington Office space in D.C. expires at the end of 2020.

*The 99 percent number applies to the 245 million acres of surface area the BLM manages. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate for the nation.>

Multiple Western cities where BLM already has a presence were considered – large cities as well as smaller communities. By focusing on a more central location, the list was narrowed to locations in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho and further evaluated:

  • Locality pay;
  • Cost of living
  • Relative purchasing power;
  • Ease of air travel to the BLM’s most frequent travel destinations;
  • Office space lease rates as well as availability of office space; and other factors.

Grand Junction was selected because of its significant cost savings, travel accessibility, quality of life attributes, and other factors, such as our desire not to place the Headquarters in the same city as a State or District Office.

We are working hard to make sure every affected employee has information on all options available. A Transition Support Team composed of specialists from Human Resources, Employee Relations, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other sources is helping individual employees with support and information, as well as career counseling, résumé-writing and interviewing workshops, and identification of vacancies for interested and qualified employees within the BLM nationwide and within the Department of Interior in the DC area.

Employee Assistance Program counselors are also providing information and work-life counseling, both in-person at the BLM Washington Office and by phone 24/7/365. Spouses and partners are encouraged to engage with employees in these discussions to assist in family decision-making.

We know that moving to a new location can be exciting but also challenging and we are working hard to offer services to ease that transition. For those who accept geographic reassignment, the Human Resources management team will provide multiple programs to assist including: counseling and transition services, permanent change of station packages (or relocation packages) which includes house hunting trips or temporary housing We are also offering a relocation incentive equal to 25% of the employee’s annual rate of basic pay including locality pay in the relocation area.

An employee reassigned to a relocated position will remain at the grade and pay of his or her current position; however, the respective locality pay will vary based on the location of the position.

Some positions and associated funding are being transferred from the headquarters organization to the State Directors to supplement their operational resources.

All positions will be advertised and filled through www.USAjobs.gov, which is the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management site for employment. We encourage people to check the site frequently as we will be adding positions as we learn of employees’ plans to either accept or decline their reassignment to their relocated positions.

The Bureau of Land Management has a long and proud history of serving the nation by responsibly managing land and resources for the American people. To learn more about the many responsibilities of the BLM, please visit our website at www.blm.gov.