May 12, 2023 - Nevadans who support conservation of public lands are encouraged to attend the Bureau of Land Management’s open hearing on June 1 to urge adoption of a proposed new rule that will move conservation up on the list of priorities when making public land use decisions. Friends applauds BLM’s new emphasis on conservation in land use planning and joins groups throughout the West in encouraging public feedback.
For years, Friends has advocated that BLM consider the value of conserving wildlife habitat, public recreational access, and all lands with wilderness characteristics when Bureau planners process applications for mining, grazing, military facility expansion, energy development and other intensive uses. In a March 30 press release, the Department of Interior (DOI) said the proposed rule “will increase access to outdoor recreation by putting conservation on equal footing with other uses, consistent with the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission.”
“We certainly hope this will be the case,” said Friends Executive Director Shaaron Netherton. “We see this rule as a necessary step forward to ensure Nevada's sorely outdated BLM resource management plans can be updated to reflect the needs of Nevadans. So much has changed over the past 20 or 30 years and emphasizing the importance of recreation, visitor services and wildlife habitat conservation on our public lands, as well as balanced land use planning, are critical needs. We urge our supporters to also strongly support this proposal.”
According to BLM, the proposed Public Lands Rule would provide tools for the BLM to protect healthy public lands in the face of increasing drought, wildfire and climate impacts; conserve important wildlife habitat and intact landscapes; better use science and data in decision-making; plan for thoughtful development; and better recognize unique cultural and natural resources on public lands.
Opportunities for public comment:
Reno, Nevada on Thursday, June 1, 2023, from 5-7 p.m. PT
Reno-Sparks Convention Center, 4950 S Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada
Virtual meeting on Monday, May 15, 2023, from 5-7 p.m. MT
Register at https://swca.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_S4-EBLxqRHa-yikYQQUNQw)
Virtual meeting on Monday, June 5, 2023, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. MT
Register at https://swca.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QwRH6XZeS6amUDI70FzriA
More detailed information can be found here.
Why Friends supports the proposed new rule:
- Preserving lands with wilderness characteristics has intrinsic conservation value and should be a top consideration in public land use planning.
- Preserving roadless areas, dispersed recreation access, wildlife habitat and access to ancient cultural resources should be top priorities for agencies that manage public lands that are the traditional homelands of Indigenous peoples, the original land stewards.
- For too long, decisions about the use of publicly-owned federally-managed lands have been made using outdated information about the actual condition of the landscape.
- As a result, public land managers in some cases have over-relied on information provided by private interests hoping to access the public’s land for intensive uses.