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Release Date: 07/16/10
Contacts: Barry Rose , 202-912-7436  

Va., Md. Companies Awarded $2.84 Million in Stimulus Funding To Assess Conditions of Natural Resources in Western U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency of the Department of the Interior, has awarded two contracts totaling $1.46 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to NatureServe, a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia that specializes in conservation services and data management, and two contracts totaling $1.38 million to Dynamac Corporation, an environmental consulting company based in Rockville, Maryland.
The companies will prepare assessments of natural resource values, conditions, and trends across large areas, called ecoregions, which have similar ecological characteristics. The assessments are called “rapid ecoregional assessments” (REAs) because they synthesize the best available science and information, rather than gather new data, and are targeted for completion within 12-18 months. 
NatureServe was contracted to prepare REAs for the Mojave Basin and Range Ecoregion (which includes portions of California, Nevada, and Arizona), and the Central Great Basin and Range Ecoregion (which encompasses portions of California, Nevada and Utah). Dynamac Corporation was contracted to prepare REAs for the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion (which includes portions of California and Arizona) and the Colorado Plateau Ecoregion (which covers portions of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico).
“Public lands are being affected by widespread environmental challenges that transcend management boundaries. These challenges include wildfire management, weeds and insect outbreaks, and pervasive impacts from the effects of climate change and human uses.  The assessments we’re preparing will help land managers understand these challenges and design responses that can conserve treasured landscapes, vital wildlife habitats, and valued recreation opportunities,” said Bob Abbey, the BLM’s Director.
The REAs will identify areas of high ecological value, including important wildlife habitats and corridors, and gauge their risks from wildfire, energy development, and other environmental changes. The REAs will also identify areas that have important energy resources, and lower ecological values, which may be best-suited for future energy development. This information could be useful to all landowners within an ecoregion. The BLM will use the REAs to help identify resource conservation, rehabilitation, and development priorities for an ecoregion’s public lands. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM'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. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 07-27-2010