BLM and Partners Sign Agreement to Improve Fish and Wildlife Resources
The Bureau of Land Management has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. This agreement establishes a framework for joint collaboration to improve fish and wildlife habitat management on public lands.
The MOU helps to fulfill the needs identified in recent Secretarial Orders issued by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (SO 3347, 3356, and 3362) by enhancing wildlife conservation and habitat improvement, supporting sportsmen and hunter access, and improving communication and collaboration with state fish and wildlife agencies.
“Part of our mission as a land management agency is to help manage our nation's fisheries and wildlife resources,” said BLM Assistant Director of Resources and Planning Kristin Bail. “Coordinating on land use planning processes with these important representatives of state fish and game agencies helps the BLM better manage these resources to protect and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife on public lands.”
For the MOU signing, which took place at WAFWA’s annual conference in Eugene, Oregon, Bail was joined by AFWA President Virgil Moore and WAFWA President Curt Melcher.
“The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is looking forward to enhanced collaborative work with the Bureau of Land Management to help better manage our nation’s valuable natural resources,” said Moore, who is also Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “This partnership aims to improve wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”
The new MOU establishes communication pipelines for the BLM to coordinate proactively with AFWA, WAFWA and the state agencies they represent on items of mutual interest. This increased science-based collaboration will bring relevant BLM and state fish and game agency staff together to improve stewardship of fish and wildlife habitat on BLM-managed lands.
“Working together with our partners to enhance fish and wildlife conservation in the West is one of the primary goals of WAFWA,” said Melcher, who is also Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We welcome the opportunity to be a party to this MOU. The Bureau of Land Management is a key player on the western landscape, and any time there is a firm commitment to communicate and collaborate more with the states, that is a positive development.”
BLM-managed fisheries and wildlife resources are an important part of the agency’s multiple-use mission. In fact, the BLM manages more fish, wildlife and plant habitat than any other federal or state agency, and more than 3,000 species of wildlife live on BLM-managed public lands. Proper management of these resources keeps working public lands healthy and productive for current and future generations of Americans.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.