Rights of Way

Individual people and businesses may apply to obtain a right-of-way (ROW) grant to use specific pieces of public land for projects such as electric power or fiber optic lines, wind or solar energy generation, communications tower sites, roads or trails, canals, pipelines or reservoirs.

A ROW grant authorizes rights and privileges for a specific use of the land for a specified period of time appropriate for the life of the project. The BLM has discretion to grant a ROW if doing so is in the public interest.

You need a ROW whenever you wish to build a project on public land or conduct any activity that would involve appreciable disturbance, alteration or damage to the public lands.


APPLY for a Right of Way  


Rental fees

The terms of a ROW grant include rental fees that reflect the value of the authorized uses. Rental fees are calculated on a per-acre basis, according to schedules that reflect local real estate values and in the case of renewable energy projects, the value of the electric power generated. Fee schedules vary according to the type of ROW: 

  • linear (e.g., roads, pipelines, transmission lines)
  • renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar power generation sites)
  • communications uses (e.g., broadcast, microwave, wifi/broadband)
  • sites (uses other than renewable energy) 

Rental fees for small sites (25 acres or less) are set by individual BLM State Offices. For larger sites, rental fees are determined after an appraisal.

Project types

An array of solar panels
Wind power turbines on a ridgetop
A typical communication site setup in BLM California

Solar and wind energy projects and communications sites are authorized as ROW sites. 
A dirt road goes through the center and a line of large pipes is alongside.
West Wide energy corridor filled with transmission lines near Palm Desert, California

Pipelines and powerlines of all sizes are authorized in linear ROWs, some of which are designated corridors