Bureau of Land Management. Manages 264 million acres Mostly arid lands in the west although some very productive, and biologically important forestlands Arid lands also important! Desert ecosystems, shrub steppe, tall grass and short grass prairies, riparian ecosystems, etc.
. . . the national interest will be best realized if the public lands and their resources are periodically and systematically inventoried and their present and future use is projected through a land use planning process coordinated with other Federal and State planning efforts . . . FLPMA also specified that the United States receive fair market value for the use of the public lands and their resources unless otherwise provided for by statute, and that:
. . . the public lands be managed in a manner that will protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use
. . . In short, FLPMA proclaimed multiple use, sustained yield, and environmental protection as the guiding principles for public land management. Thanks to FLPMA, BLM manages public lands so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people for renewable and non-renewable natural resources.
So major shirt to ecosystems as focus for management
Threatened = Any species or subspecies that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range
Endangered = Any species or subspecies that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range
“Take”= killing, harming, or harassing.
Success stories: gray whale, bald eagle, perhaps wolves
Often highly contentious: e.g. grizzlies
Positive aspects of the ESA
1. ESA is the only legislation protecting imperiled species and habitats; Canada does not even have one!
2. ESA is clear and concise; goals are achievable
3. Act is flexible
4. ESA is good example for rest of the world
5. Act protects an important public resource
6. Despite act, 12 species have gone extinct. Many more would have without the ESA.
7. 1973 – 109 listed species;
1995 - >900 listed species in US.;
>500 international species
But 3,700 candidate species
Original list mostly vertebrates; now adding mostly invertebrates and plants
1. Emergency room conservation
2. Ecosystem-level habitat protection better
3. Lack of clearly defined thresholds for listing
4. How to define a viable population
5. Metapopulations not adequately protected
6. Habitat reserves not protected adequately to sustain “recovered” populations
7. FWS discounts uncertainty and long-term threats
Perhaps we need an “Endangered Ecosystems Act”
Habitat Conservation Plans – an increasingly used tool allowed under the ESA
- Long-term landowner certainty in exchange for habitat conservation standards
Negotiated with the FWS
Does our current legal and administrative framework facilitate ecosystem management?
Management functions are separated in different agencies:
Federal agencies driven by their authorizing legislation:
Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project: Federally Owned Lands within the Assessment Area
National Oceans and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)