Identification of State Mitigation Leads

IM 2017-021
Instruction Memorandum


December 22, 2016


In Reply Refer To:

1794 (210) P



Instruction Memorandum No. 2017-021

Expires:  09/30/2019


To:                   All State Directors

From:               Assistant Director for Resources and Planning

Subject:           Identification of State Mitigation Leads                                                       DD: 01/30/17

Program Areas:  All Resource Programs.

Purpose:  Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Manual Section (MS) 1794 and Handbook (H) 1794-1 provide policy guidance on implementing mitigation to address impacts to resources from public land uses. Together, these policies replace Interim Policy, Draft Regional Mitigation Manual Section 1794 (IM 2013-142, June 13, 2013). State Directors are hereby directed to identify State Office Mitigation Leads within 30 days to facilitate the implementation of these policies.       

Policy/Action:  The purpose of MS-1794 and H-1794-1 is to support the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission by providing policies to:

  1. Implement consistent principles and procedures for mitigation in the BLM's authorization of public land uses.
  1. Apply mitigation to address reasonably foreseeable impacts to resources (and their values, services, and/or functions) from public land uses.
  1. Follow the mitigation hierarchy by first avoiding damage to the public lands and resources; second, minimizing damage that cannot be avoided; and third, compensating for any residual impacts.

These policies direct the BLM to implement mitigation through a landscape-scale approach, utilize best management practices, maintain durability for mitigation measures, monitor mitigation measures for compliance and effectiveness, and adaptively manage mitigation measures, among several other policy provisions.

State Directors are hereby directed to identify a State Office Mitigation Lead, who will be responsible for facilitating implementation of this policy, providing technical assistance, and coordinating with the Washington Office, other state offices, district offices, and field offices. The State Office Mitigation Lead will also serve as a member of the National Mitigation Working Group. State Directors should communicate the name of this individual to the Assistant Director for Resources and Planning (AD-200).     

Timeframe: This IM, MS-1794, and H-1794-1 are effective upon issuance. State Directors are hereby directed to identify State Office Mitigation Leads within 30 days.       

Budget Impact: The BLM may incur initial costs related to developing mitigation strategies and implementing mitigation into land use plans. There is likely to be a net savings to the BLM from implementing mitigation with advanced consideration and on a landscape-scale versus identifying appropriate mitigation measures and sites on a case-by-case basis.

Background: Consistent with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the BLM has long analyzed and applied mitigation to account for the impacts caused by land use authorizations to public land resources. The BLM has worked for the past several years to establish policy to make mitigation for resources across the Bureau more consistent and predictable. The BLM first developed an interim compensatory mitigation policy in February 2005 and released a more comprehensive revised interim policy in September 2008.  The 2005 policy focused on the BLM’s approach to onsite and compensatory mitigation for the BLM’s oil and gas, geothermal, and energy right-of-way programs. The 2008 revision broadened the scope of the 2005 interim policy by including other BLM program areas and further defining the circumstances and methods for considering compensatory mitigation.

The BLM issued a new interim mitigation policy in June 2013 (draft MS-1794). This interim policy provided procedures and instructions for taking a landscape approach to mitigation, determining mitigation standards, and targeting mitigation investments. The policy also provided guidance for developing regional mitigation strategies to solve resource challenges in particular geographic areas and for applying consideration of the full mitigation hierarchy to land-use authorizations. By releasing this policy on an interim basis, the BLM has been able to gather important lessons learned and seek additional input.

In the fall of 2013, Secretary Jewell released Secretarial Order 3330, Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of the Interior. This order directed the Department and each of its bureaus to follow a common set of principles for its mitigation programs while using a landscape-scale approach building on and expanding concepts pioneered in the BLM’s 2013 interim mitigation policy. In October 2015, the Department issued a Departmental Manual chapter outlining key principles and direction for executing mitigation at Department bureaus and offices, and the Executive Office of the President published a Presidential Memorandum on Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.

MS-1794 and H-1794-1 have been developed to be consistent with Departmental policy and the Presidential Memorandum, in addition to similar policies being developed by sister agencies. They also incorporate key lessons learned since release of the interim mitigation policy.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Among other manuals and handbooks, MS-1794 and H-1794-1 affect the BLM National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Handbook (H-1790-1) and the Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1).

Coordination: The development of MS-1794 and H-1794-1 has involved substantial coordination within the Washington Office (including the Director’s Office, Resources and Planning Directorate, Energy, Minerals, and Realty Management Directorate, and the National Conservation Lands and Community Partnerships Directorate), with each state office, and with several field offices. Additionally, the Washington Office formed a team to support drafting these policies; team members represented all the levels of the agency. The policy has also been coordinated with the Office of the Solicitor and the Department of the Interior.

Contact: State Directors may direct any questions related to this IM, MS-1794, and H-1794-1 to Kristin Bail (Assistant Director for Resources and Planning,


Signed by:                                                        Authenticated by:

Kristin Bail                                                      Ambyr Fowler

Assistant Director                                           Division of IT Policy and Planning, WO-870

Resources and Planning                                                         


2 Attachments

1 – MS-1794 Mitigation (P) (29 sheets)

2 – H-1794-1 Mitigation (P) (79 sheets)


Fiscal Year