PUBLIC LANDS Limited Progress in Resource Management Planning 142564 RELEASED RESTRICTED --Not to be released outside the General Accounting Office unless epedfically approved by the OfTice of Congressional Relations. -.. . 54% I’- - GAO/M :EI)-!m-225 -_..__I.- ___..“. ,.-.I.._._.__ .. ,“_._,_ I.. _-_“.. ._.- .._... _. ._.._.. _..- _-__. ---__----~~I -- united states GA!!0 General Accounting OfPice Washington, D.C. 20648 Resources, Chnmunity, and Economic Development Division R-236947 September 27,lQQO The Honorable Bruce F. Vento Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: This report responds to your request that we review the progress the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is making in developing and implementing land-use plans and in designating areas of critical environmental concern. As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to the Secretary of the Interior and other interested parties. We will make copies available to others upon request. This report was prepared under the direction of James Duffus III, Director, Natural Resources Management Issues, (202) 276-7756. Other major contributors are listed in appendix II. Sincerely yours, J. Dexter Peach Assistant Comptroller General Executive Summ~ , The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management adminis- Purpose ters 270 million acres of federally owned lands. These areas, called the “public lands” contain many resources including minerals, timber, rangeland, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation areas, and cultural and historic sites. The Bureau prepares resource management plans to guide the manage- ment and use of these lands. The plans are important because they are the mechanism for resolving conflicts among the multiple uses of the lands, for ensuring that the lands can be used currently and are also being preserved for future generations, and for designating and pro- tecting areas of critical environmental concern (ACEC). The Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, asked GAOto review (1) the Bureau’s progress in completing resource management plans, (2) whether the plans contain measurable goals and milestones, and (3) the Bureau’s progress in designating and protecting ACECS. Before passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 Background (FLPMA), the Bureau managed the public lands custodially, pending their transfer to other federal agencies, states, or private ownership. Under these circumstances, there was little need for comprehensive land-use plans. In 1976, however, FLPMAdramatically revised the federal govern- ment’s policy on the ownership and management of the public lands, by directing that they generally be retained in federal ownership and requiring that land-use plans (resource management plans) be developed and used to guide the management of the public lands. F’LPMAalso directed that the planning process give priority to the identi- fication, designation, and protection of ACES-areas where special man- agement is required to (1) protect and prevent irreparable damage to important historic, cultural, or scenic sites; fish and wildlife resources; or other natural systems or processes or (2) protect the public’s life and ensure its safety from natural hazards. The Bureau intends to prepare 136 resource management plans for the public lands. More than 99 percent of these lands are located in the 11 contiguous states that include or are west of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. For example, 69 percent of the total land area of Nevada is under the Bureau’s jurisdiction. Page 2 GAO/RCED-90.226 Resource Management Planning Executive Summaxy Over 13 years after FLPMAwas enacted, the Bureau has completed less Results in Brief than half of the 136 resource management plans needed to guide the management of the public lands. The Bureau estimates it will complete all 136 plans by 1997. The planned goals and decisions of those plans completed are of limited practical value unless the Bureau converts the goals and decisions into on-the-ground actions. GAOfound that the Bureau had made limited pro- gress in implementing its completed plans. GAOfound that specific details that are needed to implement plan goals and decisions typically had not been developed, scheduled, tracked, or linked to the budgetary resources necessary to carry them out. In July 1990, the Bureau issued instructions to its field offices that, if properly implemented, should address the scheduling, tracking, and budget linkage problems identified by GAO.Because of the importance of a scheduling, tracking, and budget linkage system to convert plan goals and decisions into on-the-ground actions, GAObelieves that the Bureau needs to closely monitor its field offices’ implementation of its July 1990 instructions. Although F+LPMAdirected that the Bureau give priority to designating and protecting ACECS,GAOfound that the Bureau has given its field office managers broad discretion in making decisions on these areas. In turn, Bureau field office managers have used this broad discretion in conjunction with their own philosophical views to make inconsistent .&EC designation decisions. In fact, ACECSwere not even singled out as a planning issue in some of the plans GAOreviewed. Without requiring that ACECSbe considered in the planning process and without monitoring of the ACECdecision-making process by the Bureau’s headquarters, GAO believes the potential exists for continued inconsistencies in the future. Principal Findings Less Than Half the Plans Over 13 years after the law that required them, the Bureau has com- Are Completed pleted only 63 of the 136 resource management plans for the public lands. Another 42 plans were under development, and work has not started on the remaining 31 plans. Between 1976 and 1980, the Bureau developed planning regulations and initiated a number of pilot plans. From fiscal year 1980 through fiscal year 1989, the Bureau has been initiating work on an average of nine new plans per year. Page 3 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning Executive Summary During the 19809, the Bureau faced budget and staffing cutbacks that hampered its ability to complete resource management plans. For example, from fiscal years 1981 to 1989, the Bureau’s planning staff was reduced by about 60 percent. The Bureau estimates that all plans will be completed by 1997. Limited Implementation of When completed, the plans are to prescribe the goals and decisions for Completed Plans management of the public lands. However, for many of the goals and decisions, the completion of the resource management plan is not an end, but rather a beginning. The plans are typically general in nature, and while providing a framework for managing the public lands, additional steps are often needed to convert the goals and decisions contained in the plans into on-the-ground actions. GAOfound that additional steps including preparing project-specific plans, scheduling when actions will take place, linking implementation actions to the budgetary process, and tracking progress made had often not been accomplished for the com- pleted plans it reviewed. For example, a goal of ensuring that wildlife have adequate habitat has limited value if it does not identify the wild- life species or geographical areas involved or the specifics of how or when the goal will be achieved. During its review, GAOdiscussed the need for a management control system for implementing completed plans with Bureau officials. Subsequently, in July 1990, the Bureau issued instructions requiring its field offices to: (1) prepare a plan imple- mentation schedule no later than 90 days after plan approval, (2) link plan implementation schedules to the budgetary process, and (3) track and document progress in implementing the plans. Inconsistent Designation ELPMAdirected the Bureau to give priority to the designation and protec- of Areas of Critical tion of ACECSin the land-use planning process. GAOfound, however, that the implementation of this legislative mandate has been inconsistently Environmental Concern applied. For example, 7 of the 14 plans GAOreviewed had not even iden- tified ACECSas a planning issue. The Bureau’s guidelines implementing the ACECconcept give its field office managers broad discretion in designating sites on the public lands as ACECS. GAOfound that decisions on designating important areas of the public land as ACECSwere substantially dependent on the philosophical views of Bureau field managers, which varied considerably, resulting in widely disparate ACECdesignation decisions. For example, GAOfound that one of the Bureau’s field offices had designated a western juniper/ Page 4 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Executive Summary sagebrush plant community as an AC%, even though such plant commu- nities are considered common throughout many parts of the western United States. In contrast, GAO found that another Bureau field office had not designated a unique paleontological site as an ACEC.The site con- tains foot tracks of pterodactyls, a form of flying reptile that became extinct millions of years ago and is one of only four such sites that have been discovered in the world. recommends that the Secretary of the Interior instruct the Director, Recommendations GAO Bureau of Land Management, to closely monitor the implementation of its July 1990 resource manage- ment plan instructions by the Bureau’s field offices and require that ACECSbe specifically addressed and documented in the resource management planning process, monitor the Bureau field offices’ application of ACECguidance to achieve greater consistency among the Bureau’s offices, and ensure that eligible areas of the public lands are designated and protected as ACECS. GAOmet with the Department of the Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secre- Agency Comments tary for Land and Minerals Management to obtain oral comments on this report. The Deputy Assistant Secretary told GAOthat he agrees with the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations. However, as requested, GAOdid not obtain written agency comments on this report. Page 6 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning Contents Executive Summary 2 Chapter 1 8 Intr&duction Background on the Bureau and Its Management of the 8 Public Lands FLPMA Revised Policy on Ownership and Management of 9 the Public Lands Resource Management Planning Process 9 Implementation of Plan Goals and Decisions 11 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern 12 Objectives, Scope, and Methodology 12 Chapter 2 16 Progress Made in Status of Resource Management Plans Initial Steps in the Planning Process Took Several Years 16 16 Completing Resource Bureau Planning Resources Reduced During the 1980s 17 Management Plans Competing Priorities Delayed Plan Completions 18 Legislation Introduced to Establish a Planning Deadline 20 Conclusions 20 Chapter 3 21 Limited Plan Implementation Actions Have Not Been Scheduled, 21 Linked to Budgetary Resources, or Tracked Implementation of Bureau Initiatives to Improve the Plan Implementation 26 Completed Resource Process Management Plans Conclusions 26 Recommendation 26 Agency Comments 26 Chapter 4 27 Inconsistent Treatment of ACECs Varied at Bureau Bureau Revises ACEC Guidance Field Offices 27 31 Treatment of Areas of Conclusions 32 c&iCal Environmental Recommendation 32 Concern Agency Comments 32 AppendixesY Appendix I: Bureau Resource Management Plans 34 Reviewed by GAO Appendix II: Major Contributors to This Report 36 Page 6 GAO/RCED-SO-226 Resource Management Planning contenta Tables Table 1.1: The Bureau’s Resource Management Planning 10 Process Table 3.1: Elapsed Time in Plan Implementation Phase 22 and Implementation Schedule Status at the Time of GAO’s Visit to the Resource Area Offices Table 4.1: ACEC Designations Made or Planned in the 14 28 Plans GAO Reviewed Table 4.2: ACEC Designations as of September 30, 1989 31 Figures Figure 2.1: Status of the Bureau’s Resource Management 16 Plans, as of June 30,199O Figure 2.2: Bureau Planning Staff Full-Time Equivalent 18 Positions, Fiscal Years 1981-89 Abbreviations ACEC area of critical environmental concern ELS Environmental Impact Statement FLPMA Federal Land Policy and Management Act GAO General Accounting Office Page 7 GAO/RCED-90.226 Resource Management Planning Chapter 1 Introduction , The total land area of the United States is 2.3 billion acres. Approxi- mately one-third of this total, or 724 million acres, is owned by the fed- eral government. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is responsible for managing 270 of the 724 million acres, including 176 million acres in 11 western states and 93 million acres in Alaska. The remaining 1 million acres under the Bureau’s jurisdiction are scattered throughout the country. The lands managed by the Bureau contain many valuable resources including rangeland; timber; minerals; watersheds; wildlife; fish; and scenic, cultural, recreational, and historic sites. They represent a significant resource for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans. In July 1946, the Bureau of Land Management was established by con- Background on the solidating two existing federal agencies-the Grazing Service and the Bureau and Its General Land Office. The Bureau is responsible for administering federal Management of the lands that have not been set aside for specific uses, such as national forests, national parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges, and Public Lands defense installations. The federal lands managed by the Bureau are com- monly referred to as the “public lands.” The public lands represent significant portions of several of the 11 western states, including 69 percent of Nevada, 42 percent of Utah, and 30 percent of Wyoming. The Bureau has divided the public lands, gener- ally along state and county boundaries and natural geographic features such as mountains and rivers, into separate resource areas. The Bureau’s field operations are managed by state offices, district offices, and resource area offices. Each of the Bureau’s 12 state offices is man- aged by a state director. State offices are responsible for providing statewide program direction, oversight, and coordination of resource programs for federal lands under the Bureau’s jurisdiction. Each state office has several district offices, each of which is managed by a district manager. District offices provide their resource area offices with over- sight and support. Resource area offices, each of which is managed by a resource area manager, are the primary field locations responsible for the day-to-day management of the public lands. Page 8 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Chapter 1 Introduction Before the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) FLPMA Revised Policy was passed, the Bureau managed the public lands custodially, pending on Ownership and their transfer to other federal agencies, states, or private ownership. Management of the Recognizing the value of the public lands to present and future genera- tions of Americans, FLPMA established new policies and management Public Lands objectives governing the public lands, including the following: . Public lands would be retained in federal ownership. . Resources would be periodically and systematically inventoried. . Management would be on the basis of multiple use1 and sustained yield.2 . Areas of critical environmental concern (ACEC) would be protected. To implement this policy, FLPMAcalled for the development and use of land-use plans for the management of the public lands and identified six major land uses-livestock grazing, fish and wildlife development and utilization, mineral exploration and production, rights-of-way, outdoor recreation, and timber production. In the late 196Os, recognizing the need for land-use planning to guide the ResourceManagement management of the public lands, the Bureau started to develop manage- Planning Process ment framework plans. These plans contained broad guidance for the management of the public lands. When FLPMA required the development of comprehensive land-use plans, the Bureau initiated a new planning system that results in resource management plans. As designed, resource management plans include a number of steps that were not spe- cifically required under the management framework planning process. Resource management plans have the following characteristics: . They are prepared in conjunction with an environmental impact state- ment (EN). l They include a formal process for public participation. l They deal specifically with resource conflicts. . They are consolidated in one document. . They are to address ACECSas a priority matter. ‘Multiple-use management means management of the public lands and their various resources, such as range, fish and wildlife, minerals, recreation, and timber, so that they are used in the combination that will best meet present and future public needs. 2Sustained-yield management means achieving and maintaining in perpetuity a high level of annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources of the public lands consistent with multiple use. Page 9 GAO/RCED-99-225 Resource Management Planning Chapter 1 Introduction Essentially, the Bureau is preparing separate plans to cover the manage- ment of public lands in each resource area. There are exceptions, such as in Oregon, where, because resource areas are often small in size, one plan may cover as many as five resource areas. In total, the Bureau intends to prepare 136 plans to cover all the public lands. To complete a plan, the Bureau has established a nine-step resource management-planning process that takes several years to complete. For example, the initial seven plans completed in Colorado took an average of 39 months to prepare. Seven to 24 additional months were needed to resolve protests before the plans were finally approved. Table 1.1 shows the nine steps in the Bureau’s planning process. Table 1.l : The Bureau’s Resource Manaaement -~ Plannlna Process Step Description identify issues Solicit information from the public, industry, and government to identify issues or land-use problems, concerns, and conflicts Develop blannina criteria State the limits of what will or will not be considered durina the blannina brocess Collect inventory data and information Gather existing inventories and other data and identify other information to fill critical information gaps Analyze the management situation Analyze inventory information in terms of the planning issues and management concerns being addressed in the plan Formulate alternatives Develop a range of combinations of resource uses and management practices that respond to the planning issues Estimate effects of alternatives Combare and evaluate imbacts of each alternative on the environment Select the preferred alternative Recommend the alternative that best resolves the planning issues and promotes balanced multiple-use and sustained-yield objectives Develop the plan Choose or modify the preferred alternative after analyzing public comments Monitor and evaluate the resource Track changes and trends in the environment caused by planning decisions and evaluate management plan compliance with the plan, laws, and policies Development of resource management plans requires the involvement and input by officials from Bureau headquarters, and from state, dis- trict, and resource area offices. Operational responsibility for managing the development of resource management plans lies with the responsible resource area manager. In addition, Bureau, district, and state office officials are responsible for providing budget and staff support for the resource area offices and for providing guidance and quality control during the planning process. Plans are approved by the Bureau’s state director. Page 10 GAO/RCEDW225 Resource Management Planning After a resource management plan is approved, the next step in the pro- Implementation of cess is for the Bureau to implement plan goals and decisions. Imple- Plan Goals and menting some goals and decisions requires the Bureau to merely Decisions continue what it had been doing before the plan was approved, with some restrictions. Implementing others requires either specific actions detailed in the plans themselves or additional planning before actual on- the-ground actions can be taken. Some plan goals and decisions can be implemented as a by-product of or in conjunction with the Bureau’s routine field office operations. Activi- ties such as issuing grazing permits, collecting grazing fees, approving rights-of-way clearances for roads and utility corridors, and issuing woodcutting permits are examples of routine operations. Although rou- tine operations may not involve new initiatives, the Bureau considers them to be part of the plan’s implementation process since they are to be carried out in a manner that is consistent with the plan. According to Bureau officials, approximately 86 to 90 percent of their resources are dedicated to such routine operations. Other plan goals and decisions fall outside the realm of routine opera- tions but are so clearly detailed in the plan that they can be imple- mented as soon as they are scheduled and funded. For example, the Billings, Montana, plan called for acquiring legal rights to cross pri- vately owned lands so that the public could get to a recreational fishing area on Bureau-owned land. Thus, achieving this goal required only scheduling when the easements or titles to the land would be obtained and budgeting for the necessary funds. Still other goals and decisions require additional planning before they can be implemented. Many of the decisions and goals in resource man- agement plans are general in nature and require additional project-spe- cific plans before they can be implemented. For example, the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, plan called for development and improvement of water sources and riparian and waterfowl habitats but did not specify the type or location of improvements needed. Therefore, a detailed pro- ject-specific plan was needed to identify the specific type and location of the improvements before the actual work could be undertaken. Page 11 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning , Chapter 1 Introduction In passing FLPMA,the Congress recognized that there are special areas on Areas of Critical the public lands containing important resources or natural hazards Environmental where special management attention is needed to protect the resources Concern or the public’s life and safety. In FLPMA,the Congress labeled these spe- cial areas “areas of critical environmental concern” and directed that their identification, designation, and protection be a priority. For public land areas and sites to be eligible for ACECconsideration, the Bureau’s regulations and implementing guidance establish three criteria that must be satisfied. First, a site must be relevant. The Bureau defines a relevant site as (1) one having a significant historic, cultural, or scenic value; (2) a fish or wildlife resource or other natural system; or (3) a natural hazard. Second, the relevant value, system, or hazard must be important. The Bureau defines an important site as one that is of more than local significance and worth. A natural hazard is considered impor- tant if it is a significant threat to human life or property. Third, special management must be needed to protect the relevant and important values. The Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands, Objectives, Scope,and House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, asked us to assess Methodology l the progress the Bureau has made in completing land-use plans (see ch. 21, . whether the land-use plans that have been developed contain measur- able goals and milestones (see ch. 3), and l the progress the Bureau has made in designating ACECS(see ch. 4). To determine the status of the Bureau’s land-use plans and the progress the Bureau is making in completing the plans, we obtained information from the Bureau’s planning office at the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters and its state offices. To determine whether the land-use plans that have been developed con- tain measurable goals and milestones, we reviewed 14 resource manage- ment plans from among the 68 plans that were either approved or in final draft form as of December 31, 1988. We selected two plans from each of the seven states included in our review. One plan was developed under supplemental planning guidance, which set specific plan content requirements by program. These requirements were issued by the Bureau to its field offices in November 1986. The other plan was devel- oped before the guidance was issued. At the time of our field visits to Page 12 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning Chapter 1 Introduction the individual resource areas, 8 of these 14 plans had been approved in final for at least 1 year. We selected the 7 states for our review to pro- vide broad geographic coverage of the 11 western states. The states and specific resource areas selected are shown in appendix I. The Bureau’s Chief of Planning told us that the 14 plans we selected are a representa- tive cross selection of the Bureau’s resource management plans. To review the 14 plans in our sample in detail, we visited the 14 Bureau resource area offices responsible for developing and implementing the plans. In reviewing the 14 plans, as agreed with the Chairman, we con- centrated on the consideration and coverage given to five areas: (1) live- stock grazing, (2) wildlife, (3) recreation, (4) hard-rock minerals,3 and (6) cultural resources. We also reviewed ACEC designations. At each of the 14 resource area offices, we discussed plan preparation with the resource area manager, the planning and ACEC coordinators, and resource program specialists for grazing, wildlife, recreation, hard- rock minerals, and cultural resources. We examined resource manage- ment planning records and documents including preplanning records, management situation analysis summaries, draft plans, and resource inventory records and public comments. For the eight plans that had final approval for at least one year at the time of our field visits, we reviewed the final approval decision, plan- monitoring records, and activity and other implementation records and schedules, and discussed implementation of the plan with resource area office officials. We also visited several designated and potential ACEX sites and discussed the issues of ACEC identification and designation with representatives of State Historic Preservation Offices and various interest groups such as The Nature Conservancy and the Natural Resources Defense Council. We reviewed the Bureau’s regulations, guidelines, and instructions issued by headquarters and its state offices concerning public land resource inventories, land-use planning, and spe- cial management areas such as ACECS. As agreed with the Chairman, we did not obtain written comments on a draft of this report from the Department of the Interior but obtained oral comments from the Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, and incorporated them into the report. Our review was conducted from June 1988 through September 1989 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We “Includes mining for minerals such as gold, silver, and copper. Page 13 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning chapter1 Introduction also updated certain information contained in this report through July 1990. Page 14 GAO/RCRD-f&225 Besource Management Planning . Chapter 2 &ogress Made in CompletingResource ManagementPlans As of June 30,1990, the Bureau had completed 63 of the 136 resource management plans it intends to prepare to guide the management of the public lands. Between 1976 and 1979, the Bureau developed planning regulations and initiated a number of pilot plans. From fiscal year 1980 through fiscal year 1989, the Bureau initiated work on an average of nine (ranging from 6 to 16) new plans per year. The planning process requires input not only by the Bureau’s planning staff but by resource specialists such as biologists, archeologists, and range conservationists as well. During the 198Os, budget and staffing cutbacks hampered the Bureau’s ability to develop resource manage- ment plans. For example, from fiscal year 1981 to fiscal year 1989, the Bureau’s planning staff was reduced by half from 366 full-time equivalent staff to 179. FLFWAdid not establish mandatory completion dates for the plans, and competing work demands for the Bureau’s staff as well as resource limi- tations were factors in plan delays. Legislation that would establish mandatory completion dates has been introduced in the Congress, but as of June 30, 1990, it had not been enacted. According to the Bureau’s estimates as of June 1990, it will complete all 136 resource management plans by 1997. According to Bureau officials, of the 136 scheduled resource manage- Status of Resource ment plans, 63 had been completed, 42 were in process, and 31 had not Management Plans yet been started as of June 30, 1990. (See fig. 2.1.) The Bureau plans to begin work on the 31 unstarted plans by fiscal year 1996 and anticipates completing all the plans by fiscal year 1997. Page 15 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning Chapter 2 Progress Made in Completing Resource Management Plan9 Figure 2.1: Status of the Bureau’8 Rerource Management Plane, a8 of June 30,199o 63 completed I46% From 1976, when FLPMAwas enacted, through 1979, the Bureau pre- Initial Steps in the pared regulations to guide the preparation of the resource management Planning ProcessTook plans. Final regulations were published in August 1979. In 1979, the Several Years Bureau also started work on the first of six pilot resource management plans. According to Bureau sources, extra time and resources were devoted to these pilot plans because field staff were developing the plans through an undefined process, The Bureau completed the first pilot plan-for the Glenwood Springs resource area in Colorado-in 1984. While the Bureau was working on the pilot plans, it also initiated work on five nonpilot plans in fiscal year 1980, and an average of about nine (ranging from 5 to 15) new plans per year each year thereafter, through fiscal year 1989. The preparation of resource management plans is time-consuming. The plan preparation phase of this process comprises several products and, according to a Bureau planning official, it takes about 4 years to com- plete a plan. The first product, is a draft plan and EIS, which takes an average of about 2 years to prepare. Preparing the draft plan is the most time-consuming part of the plan preparation process since Bureau staff must identify issues to be addressed in the plan, collect information, identify management alternatives, conduct an environmental assess- ment, and draft the plan. Page 16 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning . chapter 2 Progress Mnde in Completing Resource Management Plans The next product of this phase (the proposed plan) takes an average of about 9 months to complete. To complete this product, public comments on the draft are evaluated and the Bureau selects the preferred land management approach from the alternatives presented in the draft plan. During the development of the last product of this phase, which aver- ages about 11 months to complete, the public is allowed to file protests with the Bureau for objections to all or part of the plan. If a protest results in significant changes to the proposed plan, an additional public comment period is provided. Once all protests are resolved, the Bureau’s state director approves the plan, which then becomes the operable resource management plan for the area. In 1980, the Bureau began its full-scale effort to develop resource man- Bureau Planning agement plans. However, rather than experiencing an increase in ResourcesReduced resources to perform this expanded workload, the Bureau experienced a During the 1980s reduction in the staff resources needed to perform this work. During the 198Os, the Bureau experienced reductions in both the funding and staff resources available for the planning function. In fiscal year 1981, the Bureau had a planning staff of 366 full-time equivalent positions. By fiscal year 1989, the staffing level had been reduced to 179 full-time equivalent positions, or a SO-percent reduction. The largest reduction in the planning staff levels occurred from fiscal year 1981 to fiscal year 1982, when the planning staff was reduced by 122 full-time equivalent positions. Page 17 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Plauuhg ‘. .:, Chapter 2 Progress Made in Completiug Resource Management Plans Figure 2.2: Bureau Plannlng Staff Full- Time Equivalent Podtions, Flrcal Year8 4QQ FTES 1991-89 33Q 900 260 200 150 100 1981 1982 1983 1884 1985 1926 lQQ7 1QQQ 1988 Fiscal Yssn To cope with the staffing reductions, the Bureau made a number of policy decisions affecting the resource management-planning process. Specifically, the Bureau streamlined the process by deciding to rely on existing inventory data to the extent possible, rather than developing new data on the resources on the public lands. The Bureau also decided to streamline the planning process by focusing the plans on issues that were considered critical for a given resource area, rather than on all potential issues. For example, the plan for the Glenwood Springs, Colo- rado, resource area that was started in 1979 addressed 21 issues, whereas the plan for the Cody, Wyoming, resource area, started in 1986, addressed only 3 issues. Because competing work demands on the Bureau’s staff have received Competing Priorities higher priority, completion of the Bureau’s resource management plans Delayed Plan has been delayed. To develop resource management plans, the Bureau Completions uses planning teams that comprise specialists such as range conserva- tionists, wildlife biologists, and archeologists. In addition, Bureau dis- trict and state officials are responsible for supervising and coordinating the development of the plan. The Bureau’s specialists who participate in Y the development of resource management plans also have responsibili- ties for day-to-day or routine management of their individual program Page 18 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning . . Chapter 2 Progresr Made in Completing Resource Management Plans areas. For example, rangeland managers typically have responsibility for administering grazing permits, managing range improvement projects, and monitoring the condition of grazing allotments, in addition to providing input on grazing for the resource management plan, The specialists’ routine responsibilities may have established deadlines, For example, a range conservationist must authorize grazing levels and process bills for grazing fees, often for hundreds of permittees. As a result, work on the resource management plan is at times deferred in favor of more urgent responsibilities. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that for some of its programs, there are not enough Bureau specialists to perform even routine respon- sibilities much less devote the additional time required for resource management planning. For example, we have previously reported that limited staff resources had contributed to slow progress in protecting and improving riparian areas -narrow bands of green vegetation along the banks of rivers and streams and around springs, bogs, lakes, and ponds, Bureau staff told us that they could not give enough effort to riparian area management because of other competing demands on their time.’ Similarly, we have also reported that staffing constraints have limited the Bureau’s ability to manage livestock grazing allotments (sep- arate grazing units). Bureau range managers told us that limited staff resources prevented them from monitoring all grazing allotments and that they were unable to adequately monitor even those allotments targeted for intensive management. For example, Bureau range man- agers at the Nevada State Office told us that Bureau staff made annual monitoring visits to only about one-third of their allotments, They said that many allotments targeted for intensive management were not vis- ited each year and that staffing shortages usually prevented other allot- ments from being monitored.2 Six of the 14 resource management plans we reviewed in detail experi- enced delays. While there were a number of reasons for these delays, other competing priorities and/or resource limitations were a factor in each of these delays. For example, work on the Phoenix, Arizona, draft resource management plan was scheduled to be completed in 1986, but was not actually completed until 1988 because, according to a Bureau ‘Public Ran elands: Some Riparian Areas Restored but Widespread Improvement Will Be Slow @We _88_105 , June 30,1988). ment: More Emphasis Needed on Declining and Overstocked Grazing Allotments Page 19 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning chapter2 Progreaa Made in Completing Renource Management Phuu - official, staff had to postpone work on the plan to assist with fire fighting. Concern about the pace of developing resource management plans Legislation Introduced resulted in a bill which was introduced in the Congress in 1989 that to Establish a would establish mandatory completion dates for the plans. FLPMAhad Planning Deadline not established a date for completing resource management plans. The bill-H.R. 828-proposes to amend FWMAby requiring that Land use plans meeting the requirements of this Act shah be developed for all the public lands outside Alaska no later than January 1,1997, and for all public lands no later than January 1,1999. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in 1989, and as of June 1990, was awaiting action by the Senate. More than 13 years after FLPMA was enacted, the Bureau has completed Conclusions less than half of the resource management plans needed to guide the management of the public lands. A number of factors have contributed to this limited progress. Among them are significant reductions in staffing available to work on plan development (60 percent from fiscal year 1981 to fiscal year 1989), and competing program priorities and resource limitations. As of June 30, 1990, the Bureau estimated that it will complete all 136 resource management plans by 1997. Page 20 GAO/RCEDBO-226 Reaounx Management Planning Limited Implementation of Completedl3esource 1 ManagementPlans . When completed, the Bureau’s resource management plans establish the goals and decisions for managing the public lands. However, the plans are of limited practical value unless the Bureau takes actions to effec- tively implement them once approved, In other words, the completion of the resource management plan is not an end in itself, but rather a beginning. For the completed plans we reviewed, the Bureau had made only limited progress in converting approved plan goals and decisions into on-the- ground actions. Specifically, l schedules showing when implementation actions for approved plans would take place typically had not been developed, . implementation actions had not been linked to the budgetary resources necessary to carry them out, and . progress made in implementing the plans was typically not tracked or monitored. The absence of an effective management control system to ensure that the specific actions needed to implement approved resource manage- ment plans that are scheduled, funded, and tracked had contributed to these shortcomings. In July 1990, the Bureau issued plan implementa- tion instructions to its field offices that address these shortcomings. To ensure that plan goals and decisions are implemented in an orderly Plan Implementation and timely manner, the Bureau needs to schedule them, provide the Actions Have Not resources to carry them out, and monitor or track their implementation Been Scheduled, progress. However, we found that (1) most of the Bureau’s field offices we reviewed in detail had not developed plan implementation schedules, Linked to Budgetary (2) an effective plan implementation/budget interface does not exist, Resources,or Tracked and (3) progress in implementing the plans was not being effectively t monitored or tracked. Plan Implementation As shown in table 3.1, six of the eight plans we reviewed that had Actions Often Not received final approval had not established schedules for implementing . their resource management plans. ’ Scheduled Page 21 GAO/RCED-SO-226 Resource Management Planning Chapter 3 Limitd hplementatlon of Completed Resource Management Plane Table 3.1: Elapsed Time in Plan implementation Phase and im lementation impiementation Schedule Status at the Elapsed time rlnce SCReduie Tlme of QAO’s Visit to the Resource Rerource management plans approval of plan (months) developed Area Offices Glenwood ScAnas, Cola. 58 No Hollister, Calif. 58 Yes Billings, Mont. 49 No Platte River, Wyo. 45 No John Dav, Orea. 43 No Lahontan, Nev. 38 Yes Yuma, Ark. 33 No Elko. Nev. 20 No The Platte River, Wyoming, plan, approved in July 1986, called for developing an implementation schedule by September 1986. About 4 years after the plan was approved, we found that an implementation schedule had not been developed. The field office official responsible for the schedule told us that he had started to develop an implementation schedule but suspended his efforts in 1986 because the Bureau’s Wyo- ming State Office was developing a plan-scheduling system. However, as of May 1989, the state system had not been developed, and the resource area office had not resumed its efforts. We also found that five other plans that had been approved for at least 1 year at the time of our visits did not have detailed implementation schedules. For example, the resource area manager at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, told us that an implementation schedule for the plan approved in 1984 had not been established because of changing priorities and funding and staffing uncertainties. Specifically, he said he did not want to establish schedules because they probably would not be met. Without a schedule, however, even relatively straightforward plan deci- sions that can be implemented through routine operations may remain unimplemented. For example, the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, plan called for removing livestock from 44 specific grazing allotments by October 16th of each year to provide winter rangeland for wildlife. This decision easily could have been implemented as a by-product of the rou- tine annual grazing authorization process. However, at the time of our visit to Glenwood Springs (nearly 6 years after the plan had been approved), the resource area range specialist told us that these grazing season adjustments had not been made. In contrast, the Hollister, California, resource area office had developed for its plan a S-year implementation schedule, which was approved in Page 22 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning . chapter 8 Jhnitd Implementation of Completed Reaource Management Plans August 1984. While implementation schedules do not guarantee that actions will be completed by their scheduled dates, they do provide the Bureau, the Congress, and the public with an opportunity to measure progress against established milestones. Plan Implementation Accomplishing specific actions to implement plan goals and decisions Actions Not Linked to also requires their translation into staffing and funding requirements needed to carry them out. A plan goal to manage recreation activities in Budgetary Resources a resource area has little practical effect if the resources needed to carry out specific recreation projects are not identified, requested, and pro- vided. For example, the John Day, Oregon, plan approved in 1986, called for designating and fencing a specific area for off-road vehicle use to limit environmental impacts to the fenced area. However, 4 years after the plan was approved, this project had not been funded. Bureau headquarters officials told us that there had been a disconnec- tion between plan implementation actions and budgets necessary to carry them out. This disconnection was evident at the Bureau resource area offices we visited. For example, the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Resource Area Office staff told us they provide little input to the budget process. Staff at the Grand Junction District Office, the next higher field office level, said their input into the budget process consists of an informal listing of the district’s general priorities. The resource area manager at Billings, Montana, told us that any link between annual funding and plan implementation was coincidental because most funding is tied to routine field office operations. Plan implementation is thus a coincidental by-product of the Byreau’s budget process rather than a front-end consideration. In 1980, we issued a report that emphasized the need for an effective linkage between the Bureau’s plans and annual budgets.* In that report, we stated that the Bureau recognized the need for linking plans and budgets but that efforts to establish links between the plans and budgets had been delayed because existing land management plans did not pro- vide sufficient quantifiable data which could be related to budget requirements. At that time, Bureau officials told us they hoped to imple- ment a system to link the plan with the budget within 5 to 7 years. In ‘Changes in Public Land Management Required to Achieve Congressional Expectations (CED-80-82 & %!A, July 16,198O). Page 23 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planning chapter 3 . Limited Implementation of Completed Resource Management Plane July 1990, the Bureau issued instructions that provide for linking the planning and budgeting processes. Progress in Implementing Monitoring and tracking a plan provides an important management con- Plans Not Monitored or trol for measuring the progress made in implementing its goals and deci- sions, The Bureau’s resource management-planning instructions require Tracked that a system be established to track plan implementation progress. However, the Bureau field offices responsible for six of the eight com- pleted plans we reviewed had not established effective tracking systems to provide the basic information necessary to assess whether plan implementation was on, ahead of, or behind schedule. The Lahontan, Nevada, resource management plan was one of the two that had established a tracking system to provide the resource area office manager with information on the status of plan implementation. The Lahontan plan was approved in 1986, and an implementation and tracking system was started in 1987. This system provides information on specific actions scheduled for implementation, including planned and actual completion dates. Implementation actions on the schedule include those contained in the plan itself as well as those contained in project- specific plans. For example, under the wildlife program, implementation actions scheduled for 1990 include developing one habitat management plan; revising another habitat management plan; and completing five projects to improve riparian, sage grouse, and deer habitat. The system also allows for identifying actions that were scheduled but not fully implemented. For example, two grazing allotment management plans and one wild horse herd management plan were scheduled for 1988, but the tracking system revealed that these actions had not been completed. In contrast, the other six Bureau field offices had less sophisticated tracking systems. Typically, the tracking systems at these six offices consisted of log books that had separate sheets for each plan goal and decision. While the log books showed when an action had been taken, they identified neither all needed actions nor the time frames for their completion. Thus, the status of the plan’s implementation is not readily measurable. Page 24 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Chapter 8 Llmbd Implementation of Completed Reeource Management Plane Bureau headquarters officials have recognized for some time the need to Bureau Initiatives to strengthen the plan implementation process. In March 1989, the Improve the Plan Bureau’s headquarters planning staff developed draft instructions for Implementation plan implementation and requested comments on the draft proposal from the Bureau’s state offices. In July 1990, the instructions were Process issued in final to the Bureau’s field offices. The Bureau’s July 1990 instructions call for . developing plan implementation schedules no later than 90 days after plan approval, . linking plan implementation schedules to the budgetary process, and . tracking and documenting progress made in implementing the plan. These instructions, if properly implemented, should address many of the shortcomings in implementing the resource management-planning pro- cess discussed in this chapter. The goals and decisions contained in the Bureau’s resource management Conclusions plans for the management of the public lands are of little practical value unless steps are taken to convert the conceptual ideals of approved plans into on-the-ground actions. In essence, the issuance of an approved resource management plan should not be viewed as an end but rather as a beginning. During our work, we found that the Bureau has made only limited progress in taking the actions necessary to implement the approved resource management plans we reviewed. Schedules for implementing actions typically had not been developed, implementing actions had not been linked to the budgetary resource requirements nec- essary to carry them out, and progress made in implementing plan goals and decisions had typically not been tracked. Without these follow-on actions, the process of developing the resource management plans is little more than a paper exercise and the plans themselves little better than reference documents. During our review, we discussed the need for these follow-on actions with Bureau officials, and in July 1990, the Bureau issued plan implementation instructions to its field offices, which, if properly implemented, would address many of the problems discussed in this chapter. We recommend that the Secretary of the Interior instruct the Director, Recommendation Bureau of Land Management, to closely monitor the implementation of Page 25 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Plaunhg .* L chapter 8 LImIted Implementation of Completed Resource Management Plans the Bureau’s July 1990 resource management plan instructions by the Bureau’s field offices. The Department of the Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land Agency Comments and Minerals Management said he agrees with this recommendation. Page 26 GAO/RCED-90-226 Resource Management Planuing InconsistentTreament of Areas of Critical l3nvironmentaJConcern FLPMAdirected the Bureau to give priority in the land-use planning pro- cess to designating and protecting areas of critical environmental con- cern. ACECSare areas on the public lands that require special management attention to protect or prevent irreparable damage to important resources, such as historic and cultural sites, or to protect the public’s life and safety from natural hazards such as avalanches and landslides. The treatment of ACES in the resource management-planning process varied considerably among the 14 Bureau plans we reviewed. For example, in some plans, the Bureau’s field offices had identified ACECSas a planning issue and had documented the process of identifying and designating ACECS.Other field offices, however, had not identified ACECS as a planning issue and had handled the ACECprocess informally, with little or no documentation of what areas were considered for designation or how final decisions were made. We found that the broad latitude given to the Bureau’s field offices in designating ACES, combined with philosophical differences between Bureau field office managers on the need for and importance of designating and protecting such sites, were important factors contributing to the inconsistencies we found. In 1986, the Bureau recognized that its field offices had been inconsis- tent in handling the ACECissue, and in September 1988 the Bureau issued revised ACECguidance to its field offices. However, the root causes of the inconsistencies we observed-substantial field office deci- sion-making discretion and philosophical differences between Bureau field office managers- still exist. Consequently, there is a need for the Bureau’s headquarters to closely monitor the application of the revised guidance at its field offices to ensure consistency in designating eligible areas of the public lands as ACES. The 14 Bureau resource area offices we visited had given widely dispa- Treatment of ACECs rate treatment to the identification, evaluation, and designation of Varied at Bureau Field ACECS.Although FLPMAcalls for the Bureau to give priority to ACECSin Offices the planning process, 7 of the 14 plans we reviewed had not singled out IU=ECS as an issue to be addressed. The degree to which this meant that eligible areas were not designated as ACECSwas not readily quantifiable. Only 3 of the 14 plans we reviewed (Yuma in Arizona, Brothers-LaPine in Oregon, and Cody in Wyoming) had documented their ACECcandidate identification and designation decision-making process in any detail. For Page 27 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Chapter 4 Inwrurifdent Treatment of Areas of Critical Edronmental Concern the other 11 plans, documentation of the ACECidentification and desig- nation process was typically made informally with little or no documen- tary evidence. We did, however, review what documentation was available and dis- cussed ACEC identifications and designations with the Bureau’s field office specialists and managers. For example, the plan for Uncompaghre Basin, Colorado, did not have documentary evidence of the ACECidentifi- cation, evaluation, and designation process. Because documentation was lacking, we discussed how ACES were dealt with during plan develop- ment with the field office staff. They told us that designating ACECsites was not a high priority. According to them, there was no specific solici- tation of ACECcandidate sites from either the public or Bureau staff. One member of the planning team was assigned responsibility for identifying ACECcandidates on the basis of the team members’ personal knowledge of the resource area. No list or other record was prepared for the candi- date sites considered. Some of the Bureau’s resource area offices that we visited had desig- nated many areas as ACECS,while others had designated none. Table 4.1 shows the number of ACECdesignations that have been made or that are planned for the 14 plans we reviewed. Table 4.1: ACEC Derlgnstlons Made or Planned in the 14 Plans GAO Reviewed Resource management plan Number of ACECs Brothers-LaPine, Oreg. 12 Arcata, Calif. 7 Phoenix, Ariz. 7 Glenwood Springs, Cola. 6 Cody, Wyo. 5 Uncompahgre Basin, Cola. 4 Hollister, Calif. 3 Lahontan, Nev. 3 Platte River, Wyo. 2 West HiLine, Mont. 2 Yuma, Ariz. 1 Billings, Mont. 0 Elko, Nev. 0 John Day, Oreg. 0 Total 52 J Page 28 GAO/WED-SO-226 Resource Management Planning Chapter4 Inconaietent Treatment of Areas of Critical Jhvironmental Concern We found that philosophical differences between the Bureau’s field offices were a significant factor in whether relevant and important sites on the public lands were designated as ACECS. For example, the Brothers- LaPine resource area office covers 1.1 million acres of public land in Oregon and is illustrative of a resource office that apparently empha- sized ACECdesignations. The resource management plan designated 12 ACEXSof various sizes and types including a site containing basalt forma- tions, Indian pictographs, and primitive recreation resources; a site con- taining recreation, riparian, and fishery resources; a site containing sensitive plants; and a site containing a western juniper/sagebrush plant community, a resource that is common throughout many parts of the western United States. At Billings, Montana, where the plan covers 432,000 acres of public land in the state, the resource area manager told us that all,of the potential ACEC sites identified within the resource area can be adequately pro- tected without ACEC designation and special management. However, there is a site within this resource area that, according to the Bureau’s resource area archeologist, possibly meets the ACEC eligibility criteria but was not designated. Weatherman Draw is an area of approximately 7,700 acres containing a cluster of over 60 American Indian rock art sites. The area was not designated as an ACEC in the resource manage- ment plan even though the Bureau’s resource area archeologist at the time considered the initial eight sites inventoried to be unique and a sig- nificant source of archeological data on little understood aspects of early Northwestern Plains Indian behavior. The current archeologist told us that 40 additional rock art sites have been identified and that the resource values at Weatherman Draw qualify as an ACEC.However, the resource area manager told us that he does not plan to designate the sites as an ACEC because he believes they can be adequately protected by routine management. At Elko, Nevada, where the plan covers 3.1 million acres of public land in the state, a number of areas contain important values but were not designated as ACECS.The Elko resource area office archeologist told us that the resource area contains a number of cultural sites that he believes should have been designated as ACECS,including a unique rock quarry that had been used for centuries by Native Americans for tool- making and a rare stratified deposit of ash from the volcanic eruption that formed Crater Lake. The Elko district office manager told us that no ACECSwere designated because the Bureau’s Nevada State Director was generally opposed to ACEC designations and because of his belief Page 29 GAO/RCED-99-225 Resource Management Planning Chapter 4 . Iuconaietent Treatment of Areas of Critical EnvIronmental Concern that all resources could be adequately protected by standard or routine management or other statutory authorities. The Bureau’s Platte River, Wyoming, resource area includes a site con- taining pterodactyl tracks. Pterodactyls were a form of flying reptile that became extinct millions of years ago. Foot tracks of these animals are very rare; only four sites containing such tracks have been found in the world. Recognizing that this site was unique and could be destroyed by indiscriminate collection, vandalism, or mining, the Bureau desig- nated the area as an ACECin 1980. However, the Platte River resource management plan removed the ACEC designation for this site in 1986. Bureau resource area officials told us that in designating the pterodactyl tracks as an ACECin 1980, it was thought that the designation would result in additional funding from headquarters for site management. They said that the additional funding never materialized, so the ACEC designation was dropped. The area is currently unprotected. Overall, ACECdesignation, which also vary considerably among the Bureau’s state offices, reflect different philosophical approaches toward ACECSamong the Bureau’s state offices, For example, in a 1986 memo- randum, the Bureau’s Nevada State Office Director said that some states such as California and Oregon have interpreted FLPMA quite liberally and have designated ACECSon a wholesale basis. He contrasted those states to Nevada, which has taken the position that existing management actions are sufficient to adequately protect sensitive resources on the public lands. Operationally, the Nevada State Office Director had instructed the Bureau’s Nevada district offices specifically not to pro- pose the designation of wildlife areas such as sage grouse strutting grounds, bighorn sheep habitat, or desert tortoise habitat as ACECS,when other management options are available. During our work, we found that several areas had been designated as ACECSin one state but that areas with similar values had not been desig- nated in other states. Among the Bureau’s state offices, the number of sites designated as ACECSranged from 106 in California and 99 in Oregon, to 4 in Montana, and 6 in Nevada. Table 4.2 shows the ACEC designations for 11 western states aa of September 30,1989. Page 30 GAO/RCED-30.226 Resource Management Planning h Chapter 4 IneoneW.ent Treatment of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Table 4.2: ACEC Designations as of September 30,1969 State Number designated California 105 Oregon 99 Idaho 58 New Mexico 57 Colorado 32 Wyoming 23 Alaska 18 Utah 17 Arizona 10 Nevada 6 Montana 4 Total 429 In 1986, the Bureau recognized that its field offices had been inconsis- Bureau Revises ACEC tent in their treatment of ACECS in the planning process. The Bureau Guidance believed that confusion and uncertainty about ACF& requirements and procedures accounted for the disparity between its field offices. To address the problems it had identified, the Bureau revised its ACEC guidance to its field offices in September 1988. Since all of the 14 plans we reviewed in detail either had been approved or were published in draft as of September 1988, we were unable to determine whether the new ACECguidance would overcome the inconsistencies that both we and the Bureau have observed. However, the new guidance still gives the Bureau’s field offices substantial discretion in the ACEC decision-making process. For example, the new guidance allows field managers to decide not to designate otherwise relevant and important areas if . they conclude that the area or value can be sufficiently protected with standard or routine management; . the area is being proposed for designation under another statutory authority, such as a wilderness designation; . they conclude that no special management attention is justified because exposure to risks of damage or threats to safety are greater if the area is designated (i.e., by drawing additional public attention to it); or . they conclude that there are no reasonable special management actions that can be taken to protect the resource from irreparable damage or to restore it to a viable condition. Page 31 GAO/RCED-90-228 Resource Management Plauning chapter 4 . ~hcondstent Treatment of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Thus, to the extent that individual field office managers are philosoph- ically disinclined to designate ACECS,the reasons allowing nondesigna- tion listed above provide sufficient justification for their decisions. FLPMAdirected the Bureau to give priority to the designation and protec- Conclusions tion of ACECSin the land-use planning process. The implementation of this legislative mandate, however, has been inconsistently applied. For example, 7 of 14 plans we reviewed had not even identified ACECSas a planning issue. The Bureau’s field office managers have used the broad discretion afforded them under the Bureau’s guidance to make widely disparate ACEC decisions. The Bureau revised its ACIX guidance in September 1988 to address past inconsistencies, but the guidance still gives the Bureau’s field offices substantial discretion in making ACEC decisions. While we do not dispute the basic concept of decentralized decision-making, we believe there is a need for the Bureau to take those steps necessary to ensure that its field offices handle their treatment of ACECSconsistently to ensure that eli- gible areas of the public lands are identified, evaluated, and appropri- ately designated and protected. We recommend that the Secretary of the Interior instruct the Director, . Recommendation a Bureau of Land Management, to (1) require that ACECSbe specifically addressed and documented in the resource management planning pro- cess and (2) monitor the Bureau field offices’ application of ACXCgui- dance to ensure greater consistency among the Bureau’s offices in the process and to ensure that eligible areas of the public lands are desig- nated and protected as ACECS. The Department of Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Agency Comments Minerals Management said he agrees with this recommendation. Page 32 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Page 88 GAO/RCED-90-225 Resource Management Planning Appe ndix I Bureau ResourceManagementPlans Reviewed by GAO State Resource manaaement Plan Arizona Phoenix and Yuma California Arcata and Hollister Colorado Glenwood SDrinas and UncomDahare Basin Montana Billinas and West-HiLine Nevada Elko and Lahonton Oregon Brothers-LaPine and John Day Wvomina Codv and Platte River Page 34 GAO/RCRD-90-225 Resource Management Planning Appendix II Major Contributors to This Report James R. Hunt, Assistant Director Resources, Charles Barchok, Assignment Manager Community, and Diane Brooks, Staff Evaluator Economic Development Division, Washington, D.C. Richard Griffone, Evaluator-in-Charge San Francisco Judy Hoovler, Staff Evaluator Regional Office (140411) Page 35 GAo/RCED-90.225 Resource Management Planning “_.I .I ““.l.l. ._ .._.....” .------- ----. . .-.. . . ..-...._ --- __.___. -.-_-.. I __.___-_- _1-114- ,--_ 111--- -~_--_” Ortit~ring Informat.iotr ‘I’ht~ first, five copies of each GAO rthport. art* free. AdtIit.ional copit++ are $2 teach. Orders slrould be sent, t.0 t,ht* following address, accom- panid by R check or money ordt~r ma&b out. to t.hta Sup&ntendrnt of I)ot~umt~nt,s, whtJn necessary. OrtIers for 100 or more copit+ to 1x* mailtd Lo a single acidrt5s are discount.t*d 25 percent. l1.S. (;t~nclral Ac:count,ing Office I’.<). Box GO15 Gaitht~rstmrg, MI) 201377 Ordt~rs may also be placed by calling (202) 2756241. First-(hss Mail I’osl~age 82 F’tws Paid (;A0 l+rrrnit No. G 100
Public Lands: Limited Progress in Resource Management Planning
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)