BLM names veteran land manager to lead California State Office


Bureau of Land Management

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SACRAMENTO – The Bureau of Land Management today announced that Karen Mouritsen has been named the new California State Director—a key leadership position based in Sacramento. As State Director, Mouritsen will direct a team that manages lands encompassing 15% of the Golden State’s total land mass.

Mouritsen, a 27-year career public servant, comes to the California post after serving the past three years as the State Director for the BLM Eastern States Office, which manages BLM lands and minerals in 22 states along and east of the Mississippi River. In addition, she served as a Regional Facilitator for the Department of Interior reorganization effort. Mouritsen will report to work in Sacramento in January.

“We are truly fortunate to have a professional with Karen Mouritsen’s passion and skill directing BLM-California. Karen is a strong communicator with extensive leadership experience and her passion for America’s public lands make her the right person to lead BLM-California as we move into the new decade,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley.

Over the course of her career, Mouritsen has spent time in Washington, D.C., serving in key leadership roles. These include senior level positions as the BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Energy, Minerals, and Realty Management, BLM Budget Officer and BLM liaison to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management where she advised and briefed senior leadership on renewable energy, wildlife, wilderness, recreation, land use planning, and interagency cooperation with military partners. Mouritsen also worked as Acting State Director in Alaska and New Mexico, as well as Acting Associate District Manager in the BLM Southern Nevada District Office in Las Vegas and the Medford District Office in Oregon.

Prior to working for the BLM, Mouritsen served as an attorney advisor in the Interior Department's Office of the Solicitor for 10 years beginning in 1992. There she provided legal expertise on BLM issues, including endangered species, land use planning and forestry matters. Mouritsen—a native of Dallas—received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin College of Engineering in 1983. She earned her Juris Doctor degree at the University of Texas at Austin Law School in 1992 before launching her Federal career.

As BLM California State Director, Mouritsen will lead a team that administers 15 million acres of public lands and 42 million acres of minerals and energy resources in California, as well as 1.6 million surface acres in northwestern Nevada. BLM public lands extend across rangelands, forests, high mountains and deserts making California one of the most diverse states in the nation. The abundance of natural resources managed for multiple use by the BLM across California continues to support generations of families and local communities, providing important economic benefits to Californians and the nation.

Mouritsen takes over from Acting State Director Joe Stout, who will return to his post as BLM-California Associate State Director, where he will work closely with Mouritsen to ensure continuity of leadership.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.