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Proposed changes to BLM’s planning could better protect fish, wildlife


The Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition, led by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation, supports changes proposed in the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 initiative that are intended to increase public involvement in decisions about management of national public lands. If implemented as proposed, the changes would make the process more transparent, take a landscape-level look to better manage  natural resources and address potential conflicts and give managers the tools needed to adapt to changing conditions.

BLM's Planning 2.0 initiative proposes increasing public input into the process. Image: iStock BLM's Planning 2.0 initiative proposes increasing public input into the process. Image: iStock

Here are comments from coalition members in response to the June 21 hearing on the initiative by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining:

“Demands are growing on our nation’s public lands, from energy development to more people recreating, hunting and fishing. Land and wildlife managers are also facing increasing challenges from invasive species, uncharacteristic wildfires, drought and a changing climate,” says Corey Fisher, senior policy director for the Sportsmen’s Conservation Project at Trout Unlimited. “The BLM’s proposed updates to its planning process call for applying the best science available and giving managers the tools they need to adapt to changing conditions and better serve the public.”

“Despite the criticism from a vocal minority, the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 initiative is intended to give the public more and earlier input into decisions on how public lands are managed. That should help identify potential conflicts early in the process and give more weight to local concerns and priorities,” says Kate Zimmerman, public lands policy director for the National Wildlife. "Rather than demand the takeover of public lands, those interested in realistic solutions to the challenges of managing public lands should encourage the BLM to follow through on the proposed changes.”  

“The Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 initiative includes logical steps intended to expand public involvement, increase agency transparency, and manage for resources across the landscape,” says Joel Webster, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Western lands director. “If implemented effectively, the changes could improve coordination among local, state, and federal agencies, better manage for wildlife habitat, and help ensure that hunting, fishing, and recreation on public lands continue in perpetuity.”

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