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(Above:  Recreation, Wildlife, and Scenic Landscapes are only
some of the resources that the BLM manages)

BMP General Information

What are Best Management Practices?

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages many outstanding resources, including important wildlife habitat, scenic western landscapes, flowing streams and rivers, recreational opportunities, and oil and natural gas production. As oil and gas development and production continues across much of the rural West, it is important the BLM take precautions to ensure development on the public lands is conducted in a manner that prevents or lessens its impact on Public Lands resources.

The BLM continues to improve the way it manages oil and gas development on the Public Lands. Part of that improvement includes the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to lessen the effects of oil and gas development on the environment. The oil and gas industry and the BLM are constantly developing and improving BMPs. The BLM has collected a sampling of these BMPs and included them on this website.

Visual Resourcespumping unit

(To the Right: Dark Green Pumping unit partially screened with trees)

Many BMPs focus on reducing the visual or physical "footprint" of development. The theory is, the less vegetation that is disturbed, the less harm will come to wildlife habitat and the scenic beauty our western landscapes offer.

The choice of color is perhaps the most common and simplest BMP for reducing visual contrast. By selecting colors that help oil and gas equipment blend into the background, we lessen the visual intrusion on the landscape.

Road Building

An Example of a two-track Road

An Example of A Standard Road

Two Track Road

Standard Road

BMPs reduce the amount of area
disturbed for development.
In some cases, two-track roads are 
used to lessen disturbance...

...rather than standard roads which
    disturb more habitat and create
more visual contrast.

Reducing Human Activity in Wildlife HabitatTank Battery

(To the Right: Centralized tank battery)

BMPs can also reduce the footprint of human activity and its harmful effects on wildlife populations. Placing produced oil, water, or condensate tanks in centralized locations, away from important wildlife areas, can greatly reduce the amount of truck traffic in wildlife habitat. Centralizing tank batteries eliminates the need to drive large tanker trucks to each well and reduces the need to maintain large roads in support of the trucks.

Interim reclamationReclamation

(To the Right: Interim reclamation on coalbed natural gas access road)

"Interim Reclamation" is used to restore vegetation, and scenic and habitat resources while a well continues to produce energy. With interim reclamation, all areas not needed for the production of oil and gas are reclaimed, that is, reshaped, covered with topsoil, and reseeded with native plants.

When the well no longer produces oil and gas, final reclamation begins. The well is sealed (plugged) with cement to protect freshwater aquifers. The entire well location and access road are reshaped as closely as possible to the original contour, covered with topsoil, and reseeded. Over a period of years the site will regrow native vegetation, eventually making it very difficult to find the well location.restored well location

(To the Right: A restored well location)


The continued support and use of BMPs will help to ensure a sustainable oil and gas exploration, development, and production program that is conducted in a manner that minimizes harm to the environment while serving the Nation's energy needs.