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Wildlife Considerations in the Land Use Planning Process

Philip C. Lowe, Caleb Hiner, Public Land Law, Regulation, and Management

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), requires that the public lands be managed according to land use plans (43 U.S.C. 1712(a)). Sections 201 and 202 of the FLPMA and the regulations in 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1600 provide the framework for preparing land use plans.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed by Congress in 1969 and signed into law on January 1, 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347). This mandated that Federal agencies prepare a detailed statement of the effects of “major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human [11-2] environment” (42 U.S.C. 4332 (C)). Council on Environmental Quality's NEPA Regulations at 40 CFR 1500-1508 and the Department of Interior's Implementation of the NEPA (43 CFR Part 46) also provide guidance and instruction on how to comply with NEPA. In addition, the development of land use plans is guided by the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1 Land Use Planning Handbook).

Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed according to the intent of Congress, under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield (43 U.S.C. 1701(a)(7)). Land use plans are one of the primary mechanisms for guiding BLM activities to achieve its mission and goals. The land use plan establishes the goals and objectives for resource management and sets forth mana