February 16, 2010

In Reply Refer To:
1610 (WO-210) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-061
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:             All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From:          Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:       Guidance on Estimating Nonmarket Environmental Values           DD:  03/12/ 2010
Program Areas: Land Use Planning, National Environmental Policy Act. 

Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) requests comments on proposed guidance (Attachment 1) describing when and how to consider nonmarket environmental values in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) resource management plans (RMP) and environmental impact statements (EIS).

Policy/Action: BLM managers and staff at State Offices, Field Offices, Centers, and the Washington Office are requested to provide comments on the clarity and appropriateness of the attached draft guidance. 

Timeframe: Please submit all comments by March 12, 2010, to Rob Winthrop, Senior Social Scientist, Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO-210), email Robert_Winthrop@blm.gov.

Budget Impact: Minimal.

Background: The term “nonmarket value” refers to the benefits individuals attribute to experiences of the environment or uses of natural resources that do not involve market transactions and therefore lack prices. Examples include the benefits received from hiking in a wilderness or fishing for subsistence rather than commercial purposes. Estimates of nonmarket values supplement estimates of income generated from commodity uses to provide a more complete picture of the economic implications of proposed resource management decisions. 

The BLM’s Land Use Planning Handbook encourages inclusion of information on nonmarket values, but does not provide detail. A growing number of public comments on RMPs and project-level EISs emphasize the need for nonmarket valuation to supplement market-based estimates of income and employment. As a result, BLM planners and other staff have requested guidance on the use of nonmarket values. The guidance is intended for BLM staff without specialized economic training, including State and Field Office planners and environmental coordinators. The subject is technically complex. Comments on the clarity of the draft for the non-specialist would be particularly appreciated. 

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1), Appendix D. 

Coordination:  The document has been reviewed by BLM social science staff. 
Contact:  Marci Todd, Chief, Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO-210), 202-912-7292; Rob Winthrop, Senior Social Scientist (WO-210), 202-912-7287.
Signed by:                                                       Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                          Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                           Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
1  Attachment