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Volunteers honored at BLM 'Making a Difference' awards ceremony - 05/23/18

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management today recognized the winners of the 2018 “Making a Difference” National Volunteer Awards.  These awards acknowledge the winners’ exceptional volunteer service on BLM-managed public lands in 2017.  This year’s awardees were honored during a ceremony that connected winners across the country via video teleconferences at BLM offices in several states and in Washington, D.C.  

“Through the years, volunteers on our public lands have ensured that Teddy Roosevelt’s ideal – the American conservation ethic – would endure,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The BLM volunteers being celebrated today are champions of this conservation ethic, and it is an honor to recognize them for their extraordinary efforts.”

In 2017, more than 28,000 volunteers contributed nearly 1 million hours of service valued at close to $23 million. The annual "Making a Difference" Award recognizes exceptional volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours improving the public lands.  These hard-working volunteers have helped the BLM monitor trails, manage wild horses, keep campers safe, and provide environmental education, interpretation, and other visitor services.

The 2018 awardees and their BLM nominating offices are:

·         Pat & Phyllis MalatoOutstanding Achievement, Upper Snake Field Office (Idaho)

·         Susan MurphyOutstanding Achievement, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation

Area (Nevada)

·         Miranda & Madison DickinsonOutstanding Youth, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (Wyoming)

·         Great Escape Mustang SanctuaryGroup Excellence, Little Snake Field Office (Colorado)

·         David & Jane StyerLifetime Achievement, Fort Ord National Monument (California)

·         Sandra & Geoff FreetheyLifetime Achievement, Moab Field Office (Utah)

·         Laura OlaisEmployee Winner, Gila District Office (Arizona)

 

A national panel of BLM specialists and partner organization representatives selected the winners for their exceptional contributions to conservation and management of public lands. 

For more information, please contact Linda Schnee, BLM National Volunteer Program Lead, at 202-912-7453 or lschnee@blm.gov

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

 

Wild Horse and Burro 'Online Corral' connects Americans with adoptable animals - 05/18/18

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Land Management today announced the launch of the Wild Horse and Burro “Online Corral”—a new website focused on connecting the American public with wild horses and burros available for adoption or purchase.

The BLM also announced the 2018 wild horse and burro event schedule, featuring nearly 70 events nationwide that focus on placing wild horses and burros in good homes. To access the 2018 schedule visit the BLM wild horse and burro adoption events page at:  https://on.doi.gov/2wVItz0. The Online Corral can be accessed at:  https://wildhorsesonline.blm.gov/.

“Wild horses and burros make great companions that are superb at performing a wide variety of tasks,” said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Planning. “I urge everyone to attend a wild horse and burro event or visit the new Online Corral to learn how to bring one home,” continued Steed.

The new Online Corral is geared toward increasing the number of wild horses and burros placed into private care each year. The website, which replaces a 10-year-old system, features a modern, streamlined interface that enables users to more easily find their desired wild horse or burro.  It also includes new filtering features and an interactive web map. Users can now submit and track the status of their applications directly through the website. Approved applicants can browse available animals and participate in the competitive bid event that runs May 15 to22.  All animal bids start at $125.

Known for their intelligence, endurance and loyalty, wild horses, with the right training, are outstanding for ranching and trail riding and have successfully competed for awards in numerous fields from endurance riding to dressage.  Wild horses and burros have routinely been adopted for important tasks such as patrolling the border and local policing. Read stories from recent wild horse and burro adopters and purchasers on the BLM’s Flickr page.

Wild horses and burros can still be adopted or purchased in-person at one of the nearly 70 BLM-hosted events across the country this year or by visiting one of 17 wild horse and burro off-range corrals. Event locations and dates are subject to change.  Please contact the National Wild Horse and Burro Information Center at 866-468-7826 or se@blm.gov" target="_blank">wildhorse@blm.gov for the most up-to-date information.  Potential adopters and purchasers should visit the BLM website to learn more about the rules and requirements for adopting or purchasing a wild horse or burro. To get started visit the BLM wild horse and burro adoption and sales web pages at:  https://on.doi.gov/2fSrzJi.

Today’s announcements today are part of the BLM’s effort to confront a growing overpopulation of wild horses and burros on public rangelands and in taxpayer-funded off-range facilities. As of March 1, 2018, the wild horse and burro population on public lands was estimated at 82,000 animals, which is more than triple the number that public lands can support along with other legally mandated land uses.

“Finding good homes for horses and burros is a top priority for the BLM as we strive to protect the health of these animals," continued Steed.

BLM

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The agency's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016 - more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior.  These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

 

BLM recognizes Special Agent and Ranger of the Year - 05/16/18

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Office of Law Enforcement Security is pleased to announce the 2017 Law Enforcement Ranger of the Year and Special Agent of the Year. Ranger Carrie Wostal and Special Agent Chip Mican were recognized yesterday at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“I am pleased to recognize two of our agency’s most accomplished and extraordinary law enforcement professionals.  Ranger Wostal and Special Agent Mican are to be commended for embodying true professionalism and exhibiting the highest ethical standards,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs Brian Steed.  “Every day, BLM law enforcement personnel nationwide strive to provide a safe environment for the public and employees and work diligently to deter, detect, and investigate illegal activities on our Nation’s incredible public lands.”

The Ranger of the Year award was presented to Carrie Wostal of Kingman, Ariz., who was nominated for her outstanding performance and work protecting public lands, resources and visitors.  In addition to conducting a wide range of investigations last year, Ranger Wostal worked tirelessly to foster strong relationships with many of the BLM’s federal, state, and local partners.  She led the cleanup of a marijuana grow site with the assistance of the Army National Guard and a fellow special agent, as well as successfully prevented many other crimes on public lands.  She has proved herself a true public servant by coming to the aid of an elderly couple after their RV was destroyed by fire. Realizing they had lost everything, Ranger Wostal provided lodging for the couple at her own expense.  Ranger Wostal, who joined the BLM in 2000, also worked as a BLM law enforcement officer in Elko, Nev. and Coos Bay, Oregon.

The Special Agent of the Year award was presented to Charles “Chip” Mican of Roseburg, Ore., who was nominated for his extraordinary professionalism and leadership.  Special Agent Mican is committed to working collaboratively with the BLM’s many partners to promote public safety and further the BLM’s mission.  Last September, Special Agent Mican assembled a team of local and federal law enforcement officers to shut down illegal marijuana production in theCascade-Siskiyou National Monument Soda Mountain Wilderness Area.  Under his supervision, the team seized 700 pounds of the plant, which had already been processed and packaged for distribution.  For this and for other such actions, Special Agent Mican has proven himself deserving of this special award.  Special Agent Mican joined the BLM in 1998, first serving as a law enforcement ranger in 2000 before becoming a special agent in 2009.  Special Agent Mican is a U.S. Army veteran who served as a medic in the Green Berets.

Annually, these awards recognize a BLM ranger for outstanding performance that directly enhances the protection of public lands and visitors, and a BLM special agent for outstanding and effective investigative efforts leading to successful prosecution for significant illegal activities on public lands.  Additionally, awardees are evaluated for: demonstrating outstanding leadership and ethical qualities; fostering outstanding working relationships to promote public safety and the protection of public lands and resources; demonstrating an unusual degree of courage, stamina, or willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty; and exceptional or heroic achievement.

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

Interior Announces $14 Million in Payments to Rural Schools in Western Oregon Counties - 05/07/18

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today that the Bureau of Land Management will issue payments totaling $14 million for Fiscal Year 2018 to 18 counties in western Oregon eligible under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act extension. The BLM manages the Secure Rural Schools program in Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands, known as the O&C Lands, in concert with the U.S. Forest Service.

“As a kid who grew up in northwest Montana and whose sons graduated from the same high school as I did, I know how important SRS payments are to local communities that have Federal forests. These investments are one of the ways the federal government is fulfilling its role of being a good land manager and good neighbor to local communities,” said Secretary Zinke. “States like Oregon with large federal land holdings, play a big part in feeding and powering the nation and also in providing recreation and economic opportunities thanks to our Federal forests. Earlier this year the Trump Administration was able to secure millions of dollars in back funding for O&C counties and I'm happy to follow it up with another important payment.”

“This announcement is welcome news for Oregon counties who rely on these funds to provide essential services like schools, infrastructure, and law enforcement. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to secure two years of full funding for the Secure Rural Schools program to support our rural forested communities, and I applaud Secretary Zinke and the Trump Administration for promptly issuing these payments," said Congressman Greg Walden. "While this safety-net funding is important and needed, there is much more work to be done to reform federal forest policy, put people back to work in our woods, and provide sustainable revenue to support local services. I will continue working alongside my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to find long-term solutions to ensure Oregon’s rural communities have the resources they need to succeed.”

The O&C Lands, lie in a checkerboard pattern through 18 counties of western Oregon. These lands contain more than 2.4 million acres of forests with a diversity of plant and animal species, recreation areas, mining claims, grazing lands, cultural and historical resources, scenic areas, wild and scenic rivers, and wilderness. Most of the O&C lands are administered by the BLM. The 18 O&C counties receive yearly payments under the O&C Act equal to 50 percent of receipts from timber harvested on public lands in these counties. These payments follow a formula established in the 1937 Oregon and California Lands Act, which authorizes timber receipt-based payments to western Oregon counties.

BLM moves to coordinate sage-grouse habitat plans with Oregon partners - 05/02/18

PORTLAND, Oregon – The Bureau of Land Management marked a milestone today in the Administration’s effort to better align plans for managing Greater Sage-Grouse habitat on federal lands with state plans by publishing a draft environmental impact analysis of proposed changes to resource management plans in Oregon. 

The BLM developed the proposed changes in collaboration with the Oregon Governor, state wildlife managers and other stakeholders to align federal and state plans in order to pursue the shared goals of healthy sagebrush-steppe habitat that benefits wildlife and recreation while supporting local economies.

“We are committed to being a good neighbor and respect the state’s ability to manage wildlife, while recognizing the tremendous investments of effort into improving Greater Sage-grouse populations and its habitat over the last decade,” said Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt. “We look forward to receiving comments on the draft.”

A number of issues for the State of Oregon have been or will be addressed separately from the current plan amendment process.  However, the draft EIS for BLM-managed sagebrush habitat in Oregon addresses the issue of livestock grazing in BLM Research Natural Areas (RNAs).  The proposed Management Alignment alternative evaluates the local economic impact of withdrawing RNAs from availability for grazing and examines how livestock grazing impacts the elements and values for which key RNAs were designated.

“Comments from the State during scoping indicated that current BLM plans for managing habitat align well with state plans,” said Jamie E. Connell, BLM state director for Oregon/Washington. “So, we are not throwing out the 2015 plan and are instead proposing a focused plan amendment to more appropriately frame threats to sage-grouse in Oregon and consider economic issues at a local scale.”

The Management Alignment in the Draft EIS for Oregon proposes lifting the 2015 withdrawal of 13 BLM research natural areas (RNAs) from livestock grazing, to make an additional 21,959 acres available.  Two RNAs (13,872 acres total) would remain closed to grazing.  Connell noted that while the withdrawals were a relatively minor provision in the 2015 plan, they are expected to have significant localized impacts on some grazing permittees without corresponding gains for habitat improvement.

The Oregon draft EIS is one of six that the BLM is publishing today. 

The BLM is accepting comments on the draft EIS through Aug. 9, 2018.  The most useful comments are specific and contain new information related to the proposed actions.  Comments may be submitted by mail:  BLM – Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, Oregon, 97208-2965; or online at https://goo.gl/7wdKmM.

Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in any comments, please bear in mind that the entire comment — including personal identifying information — may be made publicly available at any time.  Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.  The BLM will not consider anonymous comments. 

The BLM will hold public meetings during the public comment period.  Announcements about these meetings will be made by news releases to the media and posting on the project website listed above.  The BLM expects to publish a final EIS and plan amendments by October 2018, one year after publishing the Notice of Intent to begin this planning effort. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

 

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