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  • Sarah Walker

Action Alert | BLM Public Lands Rule

EASY AND IMPORTANT: A once-in-a-generation chance for conservation

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help shape the future of BLM-managed public lands. The proposed Conservation and Landscape Health Rule, also known as the Public Lands Rule, takes a long overdue step in the right direction by acknowledging the role of conservation and the importance of resilient ecosystems in the BLM’s multiple-use mission. The proposed rule would prioritize the health and resilience of ecosystems by prioritizing protection of intact landscapes and supporting management decisions based on high quality science and information. Despite opponents' claims, the majority of the rule is far from revolutionary or divisive. It’s the next step in meeting congressional directives established by FLPMA nearly fifty years ago, by affirming the importance of ‘sustained yield’ in its multiple-use mission, prioritizing designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), and meeting FLPMA’s requirement to “establish comprehensive rules and regulations after considering the views of the public.”

That’s why the agency needs to hear from folks like you now. Conservation organizations across the country - including WWA - are scrutinizing the proposed rule and submitting technical comments to improve and strengthen the final. The administration needs to hear from Wyomingites that value our public lands for more than their consumptive uses. Your comments don’t need to be long or technical, but they should be personal.


COMMENTS DUE BY JULY 5TH, 2023

Or you can mail a written comment to:

Attention: 1004 – AE92, Director (630) Bureau of Land Management 1849 C St. NW, Room 5646 Washington, DC 20240

 

A deeper dive...


While there are some aspects of the rule that require closer analysis and clarification - like the newly proposed conservation leases - there’s more to like than not. An emphasis on high quality data and increased monitoring and reporting, prioritization of intact landscapes and ecosystem resilience, application of land health standards (previously reserved for grazing permits) to all lands, and increased opportunities for Tribal co-stewardship and incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in decision-making are all worth our support.

One of the most concrete opportunities to advance conservation in the rule is strengthening of existing regulations for the designation and protection of ACECs. If improved in the final rule, these regulations could help realize meaningful protections for deserving ACECs nominated by Wyoming conservation partners in the upcoming Rock Springs Resource Management Plan. Some examples of proposed ACECs that would benefit include the Red Desert and Little Sandy ACEC nominations that would protect large, landscape-level intact ecosystems known for their globally important wildlife habitat, the legendary Red Desert to Hoback Migration Corridor nominated by the Wyoming Outdoor Council, and the culturally significant Boars Tusk and Indian Gap nominated by the Indigenous Land Alliance of Wyoming.


If you need any more motivation, read the new report from Center for American Progress to learn more about what the new public lands rule would mean for America’s most vulnerable public lands, including Boars Tusk and the Indian Gap Trail.

If you’d like to dig in more, the BLM has added a wealth of resources to their Public Lands Page. Additional talking points include:

  • Support bringing balance to our public lands by acknowledging conservation as one of many valid uses of our public lands

  • Support meaningful Tribal consultation, opportunities for Tribal co-stewardship, & the importance of Indigenous Knowledge in decision-making

  • Support the protection of intact landscapes and ecosystem resilience, which includes protecting and connecting priority landscapes. This starts with protecting our WSAs, LWCs and potential ACECs as well as migration corridors and a diverse range of seasonal habitats.

  • The agency should act with urgency to inventory and protect potential and existing LWCs, WSAs & ACECs as soon as practical. Vulnerable wildlands can not wait decades for land use planning processes to determine their fate.

  • Encourage the BLM to consider comments and concerns from the spectrum of stakeholders and consider concerns to ensure the rule is broadly supported, durable and actionable.

Thank you for taking a minute to speak up for our public wild lands. Reach out to sarah@wildwyo.org if you have any questions about the rule or how to comment.


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