Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Agua Fria National Monument Petroglyph Morley Nelson Snake River Birds Of Prey National Conservation Area
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Science on the National Conservation Lands

BLM’s National Conservation Lands comprise a natural scientific laboratory that attracts scientists from around the world. Indeed, several NLCS units have been designated by Congress or the president due to their varied scientific objects and values of interest. These scientific values have opened the door for valuable research on topics ranging from geology, paleontology, archaeology, and history to biology, botany, and anthropology. For instance, researchers are discovering new species of dinosaurs, studying best practices for rangeland management, determining butterfly diversity, reintroducing endangered species, examining the dynamics of riparian areas, and so much more.  

The benefits of this research are shared by both the scientists and BLM managers. The researchers get the opportunity to conduct research in great locations, and many of their scientific projects help the BLM to effectively and efficiently manage these amazing conservation lands. The results of these scientific projects provide a foundation that BLM managers are able to build upon in their decision-making process. We have found that close, working relationships between scientists and BLM managers and staff have provided for many fruitful, mutually advantageous projects.


Are you looking for a new research site or research project? Do you want to conduct research that directly supports the sustainable management of the public lands?


Get in touch with us and we can help you explore the scientific opportunities available in BLM’s National Conservation Lands. Many of the scientific research projects in the NLCS are conducted through partnerships with scientists and scientific organizations, including universities, government agencies, American Indian tribes, special-focus groups, and non-governmental organizations. If your organization is a member of a Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) network, it might be even easier for you to partner with us!


To get started, please take a look at the National NLCS Science Strategy. This strategy guides the Science Program for the NLCS through 2017.  The strategy presents goals for science within the NLCS, followed by a series of objectives and actions to achieve those goals. The four primary objectives are to:

  1. Promote scientific study within NLCS units

  2. Implement a standard process for permitting and reporting scientific research within NLCS units

  3. Communicate the results of scientific study internally and integrate this knowledge into management decisions 

  4. Communicate scientific findings externally

Read the full text of this strategy here.

Even more practically, please check out the science plans for specific NLCS units (below). These plans provide important background information on the scientific values of NLCS units, identify the units' current management questions and science needs, and discuss how to meet the science needs, develop science protocols, organize completed research, and integrate science into management. From these science plans we have pulled out and made easily accessible the identified and prioritized science needs for each unit; research on these science needs will go a long way toward helping us effectively manage and conserve these precious lands.

National Conservation Lands
Dr. Alan Titus, a BLM paleontologist, conducts a demonstration for youth at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Scientists examine the response of butterfly diversity to grazing in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument was selected as the release site for the California Condor reintroductoin program in Northern Arizonia

Additional Resources

2010 Decade of Discovery Symposium - Abstracts

2010 Decade of Discovery Symposium - Website

2008 Science Summary Report

2007 Science Strategy

NLCS Units' Science Plans

Each National Monument and National Conservation Area is developing a science plan to help guide the integration of science into the unit's management.  Among other items in the science plans, each unit identifies its pressing science needs.  To facilitate easy access to both the science plans and needs, below please find links to each unit's science documents.

Unit Science Plans and Needs

UnitStateScience Plan
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area


Released in 2012
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area


Released in 2013
Vermilion Cliffs National MonumentAZReleased in 2014

Inyo Mountains Wilderness