oversight

Land Management Agencies: Major Activities at Selected Units Are Not Common Across Agencies

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to Congressional Requesters




June 1997
                  LAND MANAGEMENT
                  AGENCIES
                  Major Activities at
                  Selected Units Are Not
                  Common Across
                  Agencies




GAO/RCED-97-141
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   Resources, Community, and
                   Economic Development Division

                   B-276725

                   June 26, 1997

                   Congressional Requesters

                   Federal agencies manage about 30 percent of the nation’s total land
                   surface. In fiscal year 1995, the latest year for which complete data were
                   available when we initiated our review, the six agencies—the U.S.
                   Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service; the Department of the Army’s
                   Corps of Engineers; and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land
                   Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and
                   National Park Service—that manage most of these lands spent about
                   $10.4 billion and employed about 108,000 staff. This large commitment of
                   resources continues to spark congressional interest in the management as
                   well as the uses being made of the federal lands. In the last 2 years, we
                   have issued a variety of reports and testimonies in response to this
                   interest.1

                   In anticipation of continued congressional interest in how federal lands
                   are managed, you asked us to (1) identify the land management activities
                   carried out by these agencies and identify those that are common across
                   agencies; (2) describe the changes that have occurred related to the
                   missions and activities carried out by these agencies; and (3) provide cost
                   and revenue data for selected units at these agencies. As agreed with your
                   offices, we selected 14 units in the six agencies to examine in detail in
                   order to identify the units’ major activities and to compare these activities
                   across the six agencies. The units selected included three national parks
                   or monuments, three national forests, three Fish and Wildlife Service
                   refuges, two Bureau of Land Management resource areas, two Bureau of
                   Reclamation reservoirs, and one Corps of Engineers dam and lake.


                   We identified 31 different activities performed by the agency units we
Results in Brief   examined in support of their various missions. These activities include
                   cultural resource management, habitat conservation, natural resource
                   management, rangeland management, and other activities listed in
                   appendix I. Little commonality exists among the major activities
                   performed—those on which these units spent most of their resources.
                   Visitor services, maintenance, and construction were the major activities
                   that showed the most commonality in that they were performed at units of
                   three or more of the six agencies. Providing visitor services is a primary


                   1
                   See Related GAO Products at the end of this report for a listing of the reports and testimonies on land
                   management issued since 1995.



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             mission in some agencies and a secondary mission in others, whereas
             maintenance and construction are integral activities for most units. The
             units spent most of their resources (except for construction and
             maintenance expenditures) on activities related to their specific missions.

             Overall, the legislatively established missions of these agencies have not
             changed. However, there has been a shift in the activities that are
             emphasized and in the way that activities are managed. For example, from
             1990 through 1995, recreational use of federal lands increased by almost
             245 million visits for the six agencies and about 4.5 million visits for the 14
             units we visited. In contrast, consumptive uses, such as mining, grazing,
             and timber production, have decreased at some units for a variety of
             reasons. For example, since the market for uranium has substantially
             declined, uranium mining at Forest Service and Bureau of Land
             Management units has also decreased.

             The total fiscal year 1995 costs to carry out the agencies’ activities and the
             revenues generated at the 14 units we reviewed varied widely. Total costs
             ranged from $225,000 for a Bureau of Reclamation unit to almost
             $18 million at a Forest Service unit. Similarly, revenues ranged from zero
             at a Reclamation unit to nearly $800,000 at a Forest Service unit. However,
             the costs do not provide a basis for comparison because the agencies’
             budget and accounting systems are designed differently and units’ uses
             and sizes vary greatly.


             Federal agencies manage about 650 million acres of land, and the six
Background   agencies included in this review manage almost all of it, or about
             648 million acres. About 70 percent of the land is managed by two
             agencies—the Bureau of Land Management (40 percent) and the Forest
             Service (30 percent).

             Each agency has specific legislation that determines how its lands can be
             used. We characterize these land uses as multiple use, limited use, or
             specific use. Legislation requires the Bureau of Land Management and the
             Forest Service to manage their lands for multiple uses; no one use is
             considered to be primary. Therefore, use of the lands includes
             consumptive uses, such as mining, grazing, timber harvesting, hunting, and
             fishing, as well as other forms of recreation. In contrast, the National Park
             Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service lands are managed on a
             limited-use basis. For example, Park Service legislation directs the agency
             to preserve the natural and historic resources of the lands and provide for



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                     the public’s enjoyment of those lands in perpetuity. Similarly, the Fish and
                     Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System is responsible for
                     preserving a national network of lands and waters for the conservation
                     and management of fish, wildlife, and plants for the benefit of present and
                     future generations. Thus, while limited consumptive uses may occur on
                     some parks and refuges, such uses are generally excluded. The Bureau of
                     Reclamation and the Corps have a specific role to build and operate water
                     projects. Reclamation’s mission is evolving from developing and operating
                     reservoirs and power plants to water resource management with
                     additional missions related to fish and wildlife protection, recreation, and
                     environmental restoration. The Corps’ civil works mission is centered on
                     navigation and flood control but has a growing emphasis on environmental
                     protection. Both agencies also undertake land management activities that
                     relate to their projects, but these activities, such as grazing, are very
                     limited.

                     Appendix II provides overview information on each of the six agencies,
                     including when the agency was created, the number and types of units
                     they manage, and the geographical areas in which they operate, as well as
                     total staffing and budget figures for 1995. The appendix also provides
                     background information on the specific units visited.


                     Of the many different activities performed by the 14 units we reviewed,
Units Visited Have   there was little in common among the major activities on which the units
Little Commonality   spent most of their fiscal year 1995 resources. The 31 land management
Across Agencies in   activities undertaken by these units cover a wide range and include timber
                     sales, wildlife habitat management, maintenance, and hazardous materials
Their Major Land     management. We considered activities to be common if they were
Management           performed at units of half or more of the six agencies and accounted for a
                     substantial2 share of their land management resources. At the Bureau of
Activities           Reclamation and the Corps, which are primarily responsible for water
                     projects and devote most of their resources to those projects, we
                     attempted to identify commonality from the variety of land management
                     activities that they also perform at the projects.

                     Using the criterion of activities that were performed at units of half or
                     more of the six agencies, commonality occurred in only three of the land




                     2
                     Substantial activities are those land management activities with the largest costs in each unit that,
                     when added together, accounted for approximately 60 percent of each unit’s fiscal year 1995 costs.



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                            management activities—visitor services, maintenance, and construction.3
                            Visitor services is a primary mission in some agencies and a secondary
                            mission in others, whereas maintenance and construction are integral
                            activities for most units. The units’ major costs, excluding ones for
                            construction and maintenance, generally relate to mission-related
                            activities that differ from agency to agency.


Three Major Activities at   Visitor services, maintenance, and construction were the major activities
the Units Are Common        that showed the most commonality among the six agencies. While we
Across Agencies             identified other activities, such as the protection of natural and cultural
                            resources and of endangered species at a number of units, these activities
                            accounted for only a small portion of these units’ costs. We did not include
                            general administration as a common activity because it is not a land
                            management activity.

                            Visitor services was the only common mission-related activity. This
                            activity can include operating visitor centers and providing other
                            educational activities at parks, refuges, or resource areas; managing
                            concessions; and operating the permit systems for recreational activities,
                            such as camping, back country hiking, and river rafting. Although visitor
                            services was one of the activities on which the units spent most of their
                            land management resources at five agencies, that was not the case at the
                            Bureau of Reclamation units we visited in part because the Bureau’s policy
                            is to have others, such as federal or state agencies, manage recreational
                            activities on the Bureau’s lands.

                            Maintenance and construction are support activities typical of most
                            federal operations. Maintenance and construction activities can include
                            maintaining or constructing visitor centers, administrative buildings, staff
                            quarters, roads, water management facilities, and restroom facilities and
                            can account for a substantial amount of costs at some units.

                            Maintenance costs varied considerably, depending partly on how and
                            whether the costs were captured. For example, the maintenance costs
                            captured by the National Park Service units ranged from 13 to 43 percent.
                            In contrast, most maintenance costs at the Bureau of Land Management
                            are not charged to the unit, but are recorded at the next higher level.
                            Construction costs can also vary drastically from one year to the next,
                            depending on whether an expensive item, such as a building or road, is

                            3
                             A number of activities were common between the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest
                            Service, such as mining and grazing, but they were not major activities across the units in other
                            agencies.



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                           funded and built. For example, at the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge in North
                           Carolina, the construction of a maintenance building—an infrequent
                           expenditure—accounted for about 60 percent of the unit’s 1995 costs.


Most Units’ Major          The units’ major costs generally related to the activities supporting their
Activities Relate to the   agencies’ missions, and these activities were not common across agencies.
Agencies’ Missions         For example, the Bureau of Land Management spent almost 40 percent of
                           its funds at each unit on energy and minerals and rangeland management
                           activities. This expenditure is consistent with the Bureau’s multiple-use
                           mission. Similarly, at the wildlife refuges, one of the largest expenditures
                           was habitat management, which ranged from 12 to 50 percent of the units’
                           costs at the refuges we visited. These expenditures are consistent with the
                           refuges’ limited-use mission of providing a refuge for migratory birds and
                           other wildlife.

                           The Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps have specific-use missions
                           related to building and operating water projects, such as dams and
                           reservoirs. Most of the resources at the units we visited are spent on these
                           activities. For example, at the Santa Rosa Dam and Lake in New Mexico,
                           57 percent of the project’s costs are for maintaining and operating the dam
                           and reservoir.


                           Over the last quarter century, the missions carried out by the agencies and
Changes in Emphasis        their units have basically remained the same, but shifts have occurred in
Have Occurred              the activities that are emphasized and in the way that activities are
                           managed. For example, recreation has increased, while consumptive uses
                           have decreased at some units. In addition, management activities at the
                           units have changed—the emphasis on planning has increased in response
                           to various legislative requirements, and interagency coordination has
                           expanded in areas such as providing visitor services, maintenance, and
                           construction.


Recreational Use Is        The most significant change is the increase in recreation at federal units.
Increasing                 Typical examples of recreation offered at the units include hiking,
                           camping, fishing, and picnicking. Depending on the unit, a host of other
                           types of recreation may also be available, including white-water rafting,
                           rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, and the use of 4-wheel drive and
                           other types of all-terrain vehicles.




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From 1990 through 1995, recreational use increased from about
26.4 million visits to about 30.9 million, or nearly 17 percent in total for the
14 units we reviewed.4 This increase was typical for the six agencies
overall. They experienced a combined increase of about 245 million visits,
or about 17 percent, over the same period. Recreational use is increasing
in these units in part because of the general trend toward increased
recreational demand for federal lands.

Recreation is also increasing because of legislative and executive changes
and changes in the areas bordering federal lands. The enactment of the
Reclamation Recreation Management Act of 1992 has promoted recreation
at the Bureau of Reclamation’s facilities. The act stated that there is a
federal responsibility to provide opportunities for public recreation at
federal water projects but did not authorize the Bureau to manage
recreation projects. Instead, it authorized the Bureau to pay a larger share
of the costs for local governments to operate recreational facilities at such
units. The act raised the amount the Bureau could pay for the design and
construction of recreational facilities completed before 1965 from
$100,000 to up to 50 percent of the recreational facility’s total costs. At the
units we visited, the Bureau matches the funds contributed to the
development of recreational facilities on a 50/50 basis with the state. As a
result, $786,000 was made available for the design and construction of
recreational facilities in fiscal year 1997 at the Deer Creek Reservoir in
Utah; additional amounts are anticipated for fiscal year 1998. In addition,
the Bureau put $670,800 into recreational facilities and design at the
Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico in fiscal years 1995 and 1996.

Legislation has also helped increase the recreational use of specific federal
lands. For example, on December 31, 1987, the Congress created the El
Malpais National Monument in New Mexico by transferring approximately
114,000 acres of land from the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest
Service to the National Park Service. Recreation has become the primary
use of the monument, and visitation increased from about 52,000 in 1989 to
97,400 in 1995.

A March 1996 executive order also clarified and expanded, to the extent
consistent with existing laws and interagency agreements, the role of
recreation on refuges. Although recreation had been an acceptable activity
in refuges as described in the Recreational Use of Fish and Wildlife Areas
Act of 1962, Executive Order 12996 of March 25, 1996, clarified that

4
 Recreational use data for the units and the agencies are estimated because not all the units or all the
agencies had consistent data for the 5-year period.



Page 6                                              GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
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                        specific types of recreation, such as hunting, wildlife observation, and
                        environmental education, are priority public uses of refuges and that these
                        uses are to be expanded when compatible and consistent with sound
                        principles of fish and wildlife management and are otherwise in the public
                        interest.

                        In addition to the legislative and executive changes, changes in the areas
                        bordering federal lands have also resulted in increased recreational use.
                        For example, at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North
                        Carolina, park officials said the success of the surrounding communities in
                        attracting visitors has also increased visitation at the park. The
                        introduction of country music halls and theaters in towns near the park’s
                        western entrance has contributed to increased visitation to the park (from
                        6 million visitors in 1978 to 9 million visitors in 1995). The officials noted
                        that the addition of a 24-hour-a-day casino scheduled to open in 1997 in
                        Cherokee, near the North Carolina entrance to the park, is also likely to
                        increase visitation.


Some Consumptive Uses   While recreation has been increasing at the units we visited, traditional
Are Decreasing          consumptive uses, such as grazing, mining, and timber harvesting, have
                        decreased at some units. For example, the legislation creating both
                        Canyonlands National Park in Utah and El Malpais National Monument in
                        New Mexico provides for phasing out grazing and mining. The last grazing
                        lease at Canyonlands was terminated in 1985, and the last grazing lease at
                        El Malpais will be terminated by December 31, 1997. By 1993, there were
                        no active mining claims in Canyonlands, and the act creating El Malpais
                        prohibits mining, although little existed.

                        Market conditions and environmental concerns have also decreased
                        certain consumptive uses of federal lands. During the 1970s and 1980s, the
                        market for uranium, which created a demand for mining activity in New
                        Mexico and Utah, declined substantially, thus reducing the amount of
                        mining occurring in units managed by the Bureau of Land Management
                        and the Forest Service. Some timber production has also decreased
                        because of environmental concerns. In 1995, 2.5 million board feet of
                        timber was harvested from the Cibola National Forest’s Mount Taylor
                        Ranger District in New Mexico. However, according to the Forest Service,
                        in 1996 the court ordered a stop in timber harvesting while the harvest’s
                        potential impacts on the Mexican spotted owl were assessed.




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Agencies Use Increased     Over time, planning and environmental analyses have become increasingly
Planning to Manage Their   important and costly aspects of how the agencies manage their activities.
Activities                 The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires agencies to
                           prepare planning and environmental assessment documents, and
                           preparing these documents requires increased data and technical
                           resources. In addition, agency-specific legislation, such as the Federal
                           Land Policy and Management Act and the National Forest Management
                           Act, established planning requirements for the Bureau of Land
                           Management and the Forest Service, respectively. The impact on an
                           agency can be significant. For example, the Forest Service has spent more
                           than $250 million over the last 20 years developing multiyear plans for
                           managing timber production, livestock grazing, recreation, wildlife and
                           fish habitat, and other legislatively mandated uses of national forests.

                           Finally, other legislation requires the agencies, in doing their planning and
                           evaluations, to consider various specific impacts, such as those on water
                           resources, air quality, and archaeological and historical resources.
                           Complying with these requirements can be a major task. For example,
                           complying with cultural resource requirements is a major task in the
                           Utah/New Mexico area because the Four Corners5 area, of which these
                           states are a part, is one of the most important cultural resource areas in
                           the country. Thus, according to unit officials, cultural resource
                           assessments have to be prepared for nearly all activities.

                           As the agencies’ experience with these requirements has increased, so has
                           the technical expertise needed, the depth of information required, and the
                           staff expertise necessary to fulfill the requirements. As a result, the
                           agencies have had to add more specialists with expertise in such areas as
                           biology, entomology, botany, forestry, archaeology, recreation, and
                           geology.


Some Units Have            Some units perform their land management activities cooperatively with
Increased Their            units of other agencies. The Canyon Country of Southeast Utah offers an
Interagency Cooperation    example of how interagency cooperation can occur. The area includes
                           Canyonlands National Park, the Bureau of Land Management’s Moab
                           District, and the Manti-La Sal National Forest. In 1993, in response to the
                           escalating impacts of the recreational boom in Canyon Country, all of the
                           locally based county, state, and federal land management authorities



                           5
                            The Four Corners area is the point at which the borders of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
                           connect.



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                       formed the Canyon Country Partnership. The partnership seeks to, among
                       other things, promote cooperative planning and share resources.

                       The partnership produced an agreement for the Bureau of Land
                       Management and the National Park Service to share law enforcement
                       responsibilities and for the federal agencies to share equipment, expertise,
                       and staff time on construction and maintenance projects. Activities
                       included developing and sharing maintenance plans and performing
                       maintenance for one another, such as construction tasks, road repair, and
                       mowing. The partners also provided services to one another for tasks such
                       as restroom maintenance. The partnership is also working to complete a
                       regionwide geographic information system and to diversify the economies
                       of the region’s small communities and ease their transition from resource
                       extraction, such as mining, to economies based on amenities, such as
                       recreation.

                       In New Mexico, the Bureau of Land Management and El Malpais National
                       Monument cooperate in their law enforcement activities, and they and the
                       Forest Service share equipment and staff expertise to perform
                       maintenance. Also, the Corps joined with state and federal agencies to
                       develop the New Mexico Recreation and Heritage Guide Map to inform the
                       public about the recreational activities on the public lands in the state.

                       In Moab, Utah, a visitor center that opened on June 15, 1993, serves the
                       needs of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the
                       Forest Service, and the county. This center cost about $1.2 million to
                       design, construct, and equip with exhibits, audio visual equipment, and a
                       video. A state agency provided $819,000 of the cost through a low-interest
                       loan, and the federal government provided the remaining $390,000. Such
                       jointly operated visitor centers offer the opportunity to build a single,
                       comprehensive visitor center that benefits the public by offering longer
                       hours of operation and one-stop shopping for information about the entire
                       area. Because staffing and maintaining a visitor center can be costly and
                       labor-intensive—the center operates 363 days a year and 13 hours a day in
                       season—sharing the operation reduces the cost and burden to all of the
                       agencies involved.


                       The total fiscal year 1995 costs and revenues for each of the 14 units we
Wide-Ranging Costs     reviewed varied widely. Types of costs included those for managing
and Revenues Are Not   energy and minerals, grazing, timber sales, and recreation. Examples of
Readily Comparable     revenues included mineral leasing fees, grazing fees, timber sales



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                                         revenues, entrance fees, and camping fees. Total costs ranged from
                                         $225,000 for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Deer Creek Reservoir in Utah to
                                         almost $18 million at the Forest Service’s Cibola National Forest in New
                                         Mexico. Similarly, Reclamation’s Deer Creek Reservoir generated no
                                         revenues, whereas the Cibola National Forest had almost $800,000 in
                                         revenues. (Table 1 shows the costs and revenues for the 14 units.)

Table 1: Costs and Revenues for Fiscal
Year 1995 at 14 Units Visited            Dollars in thousands
                                         Agency/unit                                                 Costs          Revenues
                                         Bureau of Land Management
                                         Rio Puerco Resource Area                                    $2,001              $427
                                         San Juan Resource Area                                        $837              $227
                                         Bureau of Reclamation
                                         Deer Creek Reservoir                                          $225                 0
                                         Elephant Butte Reservoir                                      $372               $55
                                         Corps of Engineers
                                         Santa Rosa Dam and Lake                                       $814               $11
                                         Forest Service
                                         Cibola National Forest                                     $17,879              $772
                                         Manti-La Sal National Forest                               $10,209              $264
                                         Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest                            $9,127              $528
                                         Fish and Wildlife Service
                                         Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge                              $771                $6
                                         Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge                  $1,082               $42
                                         Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge                              $583               $16
                                         National Park Service
                                         Canyonlands National Park                                   $4,454              $276
                                         El Malpais National Monument                                $1,238                 0
                                         Great Smoky Mountains National Park                        $13,171              $733

                                         Source: The agencies’ data.


                                         Comparing the costs and revenues of these units is not particularly
                                         meaningful, however, because of the many variables, in addition to
                                         differences in size and use, that affect these amounts. First, the agencies’
                                         budget and accounting systems are designed differently to meet the
                                         individual agencies’ requirements. Consequently, they do not provide a
                                         basis for comparing activity costs across the agencies. For example, Fish
                                         and Wildlife Service units report their costs primarily in two broad




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                     categories—operations and maintenance—while other agencies, such as
                     the Bureau of Land Management, identify narrow categories such as
                     rangeland, cultural resources, or energy and minerals management
                     separately. Bureau of Reclamation units are usually part of much larger
                     projects. For example, the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico is part
                     of the Rio Grande Project. As a result, the land management costs at
                     specific Bureau units are not readily identified.

                     Second, some costs, such as those for maintenance and administration,
                     are not always charged at the unit level, but are recorded at a higher level
                     in the agency. For example, maintenance at the Bureau of Land
                     Management’s San Juan Resource Area in Utah is largely performed by
                     and charged to the Moab District Office, a higher-level unit. Likewise, most
                     administrative activities at the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish
                     and Wildlife Service units are performed at other levels within the agency
                     and therefore not charged to those units. In contrast, most maintenance
                     and administration are performed and costs accumulated at the unit level
                     in the national parks and forests. Thus, a national park could appear to
                     cost more to operate than a Bureau of Land Management unit that does
                     not account for similar costs at the unit level.

                     Finally, the costs to operate recreational facilities at the units are not
                     included in the total costs for all units. Recreation at the Bureau of
                     Reclamation and the Corps units that we visited is managed under
                     long-term agreements with the states. As part of these agreements, the
                     states paid most of the operating costs. In contrast, units such as those at
                     the Forest Service and Park Service recorded recreational costs directly at
                     the unit level.

                     Comparing revenues is not particularly meaningful either because
                     revenues vary greatly depending on the uses allowed and the fees charged
                     at the units. For example, Great Smoky Mountains National Park charges
                     no entrance fees, while at Canyonlands National Park, entrance fees
                     account for over 75 percent of its $276,000 in revenue.


                     We provided a draft of this report to the Forest Service, the Corps of
Agencies’ Comments   Engineers, and the Department of the Interior for their review and
and Our Evaluation   comment. The Forest Service noted that it accepted the report as written
                     and indicated that it reflects the comments presented by the agency during
                     the exit conferences and adequately expresses the view of the agency. The
                     Corps of Engineers reviewed the draft and had no comments.



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              The Department of the Interior agreed with the report but offered several
              comments about the need to clearly state in the “Results in Brief” our
              criterion for what constitutes a common activity and to make clear that
              our message relates to the 14 units we visited and is not being projected to
              the six agencies. We agree with these comments and added language to
              our “Results in Brief” and to the body of the report clarifying our criterion
              for what constitutes a common activity and more clearly stating that our
              message relates to the 14 units we visited. Interior officials also said we
              should point out that the Interior agencies and the Forest Service have an
              established program for cooperating and working together on fire
              management and fire suppression activities. We recognize that Interior,
              the Forest Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and state
              foresters coordinate through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group
              and the National Mobilization System to establish wildland fire policies
              and to conduct fire suppression activities. We did not address these
              activities in the report because our focus was on the major activities at the
              14 units we visited. Interior officials also offered several comments to
              improve the accuracy and clarity of the report, and we have included them
              as appropriate.


              To obtain information for this report, we interviewed officials and
Scope and     obtained and reviewed documents and other data from six agencies—the
Methodology   Department of the Army’s Corps of Engineers; the Department of
              Agriculture’s Forest Service; and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau
              of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service,
              and National Park Service. We conducted our review from July 1996
              through May 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government
              auditing standards. Appendix III contains a more detailed explanation of
              our objectives, scope, and methodology.


              Unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further
              distribution of this report until 15 days after the date of this letter. At that
              time, we will send copies of this report to the Secretaries of Agriculture,
              the Army, and the Interior; the Chief of the Forest Service; the Chief, U.S.
              Corps of Engineers; the Directors of the Bureau of Land Management, Fish
              and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service; the Commissioner of the
              Bureau of Reclamation; the Director, Office of Management and Budget;
              and other interested parties. We will also make copies available to others
              upon request.




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If you have any questions about this report, please call me at
(202) 512-8021. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV.




Barry T. Hill
Associate Director, Energy,
  Resources, and Science Issues




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List of Requesters

The Honorable Conrad Burns
United States Senate

The Honorable Frank H. Murkowski
Chairman, Committee on
  Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate

The Honorable Larry Craig
Chairman, Subcommittee on Forests and
  Public Lands Management
Committee on Energy and
  Natural Resources
United States Senate

The Honorable Ralph Regula
Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

The Honorable James V. Hansen
Chairman, Subcommittee on National
  Parks and Public Lands
Committee on Resources
House of Representatives




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Page 15   GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Contents



Letter                                                                                             1


Appendix I                                                                                        18
                         Activities With the Largest Costs                                        18
Land Management          Other Activities                                                         18
Activities Carried Out
at One or More of the
14 Units Within the
Six Agencies
Appendix II                                                                                       19
                         Bureau of Land Management                                                20
General Overview of      Bureau of Reclamation                                                    21
the Agencies and the     Corps of Engineers                                                       23
                         Forest Service                                                           24
Units Visited            Fish and Wildlife Service                                                26
                         National Park Service                                                    28

Appendix III                                                                                      30

Objectives, Scope,
and Methodology
Appendix IV                                                                                       32

Major Contributors to
This Report
Related GAO Products                                                                              33


Tables                   Table 1: Costs and Revenues for Fiscal Year 1995 at 14 Units             10
                           Visited
                         Table II.1: Year Created, Number and Type of Units, and Area of          19
                           Operation for Six Land Management Agencies
                         Table II.2: Acres Managed, Staffing, Visitation, and Budget              20
                           Amounts for Six Land Management Agencies for Fiscal Year 1995
                         Table II.3: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the BLM Units Visited               21
                         Table II.4: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the BOR Units Visited               23
                         Table II.5: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the Corps Unit Visited              24




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Contents




Table II.6: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the FS Units Visited                 25
Table II.7: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the FWS Units Visited                28
Table II.8: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the NPS Units Visited                29




Abbreviations

BLM        Bureau of Land Management
BOR        Bureau of Reclamation
FS         Forest Service
FTE        full-time equivalent
FWS        Fish and Wildlife Service
GAO        General Accounting Office
NPS        National Park Service


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Appendix I

Land Management Activities Carried Out at
One or More of the 14 Units Within the Six
Agencies
                      (Those in each unit which, when added together, account for 60 percent of
Activities With the   a unit’s costs.)
Largest Costs
                      Construction (facilities, roads, and trails)
                      Cooperative work
                      Cost-sharing agreements
                      Cultural resources
                      Ecosystem planning, inventory, and monitoring
                      Energy and minerals management
                      Fire management (fire and presuppression)
                      Forestland vegetation management
                      Habitat management (wildlife and fisheries)
                      Law enforcement
                      Maintenance (facilities, roads, and trails)
                      Natural resources management
                      Resource management plan preparation
                      Rangeland/grazing management
                      Realty
                      Timber sales/salvage sales management
                      Visitor services (recreation management)
                      Volunteer programs
                      Waterfowl management
                      Watershed improvements
                      Wilderness management


                      Environmental education
Other Activities      Emergency pest suppression
                      Hazardous materials management
                      Land acquisition
                      Land line management (surveying)
                      Resource protection
                      Riparian area1 management
                      Soil/water/air management
                      Rights-of-use (permit) administration
                      Threatened and endangered species management




                      1
                       Areas of land directly influenced by permanent water.



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Appendix II

General Overview of the Agencies and the
Units Visited

                                          The six agencies and the 14 units we reviewed vary in their sizes, budgets,
                                          and operations. This appendix provides a general overview of these
                                          agencies and their units that we visited. The agencies have been created at
                                          various times over the last 170 years, manage a variety of units in different
                                          parts of the country, and manage vastly different amounts of acreage with
                                          different budgets and staffing levels. Information on these agencies is
                                          presented in tables II.1 and II.2.


Table II.1: Year Created, Number and Type of Units, and Area of Operation for Six Land Management Agencies
                                    Number and type of land
Agency                 Year created management units                    Area of operation
BLM                          1946 139 resource areas                            28 states, mainly 10 western states and Alaska
BOR                               348 reservoirs and                            17 states west of the Mississippi
                             1902 254 diversion dams
Corpsa                       1824 about 460 water-resource projects             Nationwide
FS                                155 national forests and                      44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
                                  132 other units including national
                             1905 grasslands
FWSb                              503 refuges and                               All 50 states, Puerto Rico, 3 territories, and 5 Pacific
                             1903 86 other areas                                island possessions
NPS                               54 parks and                                  49 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa,
                             1916 321 other units                               Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands
                                          a
                                           The Corps’ Civil Works program only.
                                          b
                                              National Wildlife Refuge System only.



                                          Source: The agencies’ data.




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                                         General Overview of the Agencies and the
                                         Units Visited




Table II.2: Acres Managed, Staffing,
Visitation, and Budget Amounts for Six                    Acres managed               Staffing                Visitation           Budget
Land Management Agencies for Fiscal      Agency              (in millions)          (in FTEsa)       (in million visits)      (in millions)
Year 1995                                BLM                          267.1            11,046                        58              $1,240
                                         BOR                             8.6            6,954                        87                859
                                                     b
                                         Corps                         12.4            27,661                       386               3,339
                                         FS                           191.6            40,712                       830               3,362
                                                 c
                                         FWS                           91.8             2,215                        27                168
                                         NPS                           76.6            19,876                       270               1,474
                                         Total                        648.1           108,464                     1,658             $10,442
                                         a
                                          A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                         compensable hours in a fiscal year.
                                         b
                                             The Corps’ Civil Works program only.
                                         c
                                         National Wildlife Refuge System only.



                                         Source: The agencies’ data.




                                         Within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), we visited two resource
Bureau of Land                           area offices, one in Utah and one in New Mexico. Resource areas are the
Management                               lowest level land management units in BLM. Following are descriptions of
                                         the units and a table presenting information on their size, staffing,
                                         visitation, costs, and revenues.


San Juan Resource Area                   The San Juan Resource Area is located in southeastern Utah. The area is
                                         bordered by the Colorado state line on the east, the Navajo Reservation on
                                         the south, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Canyonlands
                                         National Park on the west. It is part of BLM’s Moab District. The area office
                                         is in the process of being reorganized into the Monticello Field Office with
                                         the same boundaries, but with expanded authority.

                                         The area is noted for its scenery, cultural and historic resources, and
                                         recreational opportunities. The uses that are allowed represent the broad
                                         multiple-use mission of BLM, including mining, grazing, harvesting of forest
                                         products, and hunting as well as a broad range of recreational activities.


Rio Puerco Resource Area                 The Rio Puerco Resource Area is located in central and north-central New
                                         Mexico. It is part of BLM’s Albuquerque District. The area office is in the




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                                           General Overview of the Agencies and the
                                           Units Visited




                                           process of being reorganized into the Albuquerque Field Office with the
                                           same boundaries, but with expanded authority. Resource area uses
                                           include energy and mineral uses, such as oil, gas, and coal leasing, and
                                           mineral mining. The uses also include activities related to geological and
                                           paleontological resources, grazing, collecting fuelwood, and a range of
                                           recreational activities, including backpacking, climbing, hiking, camping,
                                           swimming, horseback riding, nature study, off-road vehicle touring, and
                                           viewing scenery.

                                           Table II.3 provides overview information on the BLM units visited.

Table II.3: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
BLM Units Visited                                                                                    Resource area
                                                                                                  San Juan                      Rio Puerco
                                           Acres                                                  1,800,000                           1,350,000
                                           Visitation                                               148,000                             77,800
                                           FTEsa                                                          19                                47
                                           Costs                                                  $837,000                       $2,001,000
                                           Revenues                                               $227,000                            $427,000
                                           a
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




                                           We visited two Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) units—Deer Creek Reservoir
Bureau of                                  in Utah and Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico. Although these
Reclamation                                reservoirs provide a variety of recreational activities, BOR manages none of
                                           the recreational activities at these locations because BOR’s policy is to
                                           transfer, when possible, the management of recreation areas on its project
                                           lands to other governmental, e.g., federal and state, entities.


Deer Creek Reservoir                       Deer Creek Reservoir is located on the Provo River about 16 miles
                                           northeast of Provo, Utah. It is situated in close proximity to the Salt Lake
                                           City and Provo metropolitan areas in Utah and is the third most popular
                                           reservoir for recreation in Utah. The Congress authorized the construction
                                           of the Deer Creek dam in 1933 under the National Industrial Recovery Act.
                                           Construction began in 1938, and the dam was completed in 1941. The
                                           6-mile long reservoir created by the dam has 18 miles of shoreline. The




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                           General Overview of the Agencies and the
                           Units Visited




                           reservoir’s water provides irrigation and municipal and industrial water
                           directly to two counties and by exchange to two more.

                           Fishing, grazing, hunting, and recreation are authorized, but hunting is not
                           allowed on lands designated for recreation. Mining and timber harvesting,
                           while permissible under certain federal laws, are deemed incompatible
                           with the project’s purposes and are therefore not authorized on the
                           project’s lands.

                           BOR is responsible for operating and maintaining the dam and providing
                           oversight of the adjoining recreation lands run by the state. This oversight
                           includes land-use planning, resource protection and enhancement,
                           rights-of-use administration, and 50/50 cost sharing for mutually
                           agreed-upon capital improvement projects. BOR does not fund annual
                           and/or recurring operating and maintenance costs for recreation at this
                           unit.


Elephant Butte Reservoir   Elephant Butte Reservoir is located on the Rio Grande near Truth or
                           Consequences, New Mexico, or about 125 miles north of El Paso, Texas.
                           Construction of Elephant Butte dam (originally called Engle Dam) began
                           in 1908 and was completed in 1916 as part of the Rio Grande Project. The
                           dam and reservoir were originally constructed to store floodwaters and to
                           provide regulated release of water for irrigation needs. In the late 1930s,
                           Elephant Butte powerplant was built at the dam to harness the water flow
                           for electricity production.

                           The reservoir created by the dam is about 30 miles long with 250 miles of
                           shoreline. In 1973, BOR leased to New Mexico lands within the reservoir
                           area, including housing units and other improvements, and the state
                           operates the area as a state park. According to the park superintendent,
                           Elephant Butte Lake State Park is the largest state park in New Mexico
                           and has 95,000 to 105,000 visitors on certain holiday weekends.

                           Fishing, hunting, and recreation are authorized, but hunting is not allowed
                           in designated recreation areas. Grazing is authorized and is managed for
                           BOR by BLM. As at Deer Creek, mining and timber harvesting are
                           incompatible with the project’s purposes and are not authorized.

                           BOR is responsible for the dam’s operation and maintenance and provides
                           oversight of the recreation lands run by the state. This oversight includes
                           land-use planning, resource protection and enhancement, rights-of-use



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                                           administration, and 50/50 cost sharing for mutually agreed-upon capital
                                           improvement projects. BOR does not fund annual and/or recurring
                                           operating and maintenance costs for recreation at this unit.

                                           Table II.4 provides overview data on both reservoirs.

Table II.4: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
BOR Units Visited                                                                                   Deer Creek                   Elephant Butte
                                           Acres                                                           6,300                        61,100
                                           Visitationa (at state park)                                  235,000                       1,814,000b
                                           FTEsc (for land management)                                       <1d                              5e
                                           Costs                                                      $225,000                        $372,000
                                           Revenues                                                             0                      $55,000f
                                           a
                                           Calendar year data.
                                           b
                                               In calendar year 1995, a total of 283 people toured the BOR facilities and dam.
                                           c
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.
                                           d
                                            Although various BOR Provo Area Office resources staff have land management responsibilities
                                           at Deer Creek, they spend less than 1 percent of their time on activities associated with Deer
                                           Creek reservoir lands.
                                           e
                                           One FTE is for a resource management specialist.
                                           f
                                            Revenue is for vegetation management at Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs. The agency
                                           cannot separate out revenue for Elephant Butte .



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




                                           We visited the Corps of Engineers’ Santa Rosa Dam and Lake project in
Corps of Engineers                         New Mexico. The project is located in east-central New Mexico and is part
                                           of the Corps’ Albuquerque District. The project was authorized by the
                                           Flood Control Act of 1954 and provides for (1) the conservation of
                                           irrigation water, (2) sedimentation control, and (3) flood control. The
                                           project was completed in 1981. The Santa Rosa project is not a typical
                                           Albuquerque District or Corps of Engineers project because it does not
                                           have a permanent recreation pool (the water can be almost drained in dry
                                           summers); however, the irrigation pool is frequently available for water
                                           recreation. The recreation areas on the project are leased to, and managed
                                           by, the New Mexico Park and Recreation Division. Camping, picnicking,
                                           swimming, hiking, fishing, boating, and other water recreation are
                                           allowed. Over one-half of the project’s lands are leased for grazing, which



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                                           provides the project’s revenues. Also, some project land is usually open to
                                           hunting.

                                           Table II.5 provides overview information on the Corps unit we visited.

Table II.5: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
Corps Unit Visited                                                                                              Santa Rosa Dam and Lake
                                           Acres                                                                                        13,525
                                                       a
                                           Visitation                                                                                   68,000
                                           FTEsb                                                                                            4.5
                                           Costs                                                                                      $813,600
                                           Revenues to Corps                                                                           $11,400
                                           Revenues to State Park                                                                      $71,500
                                           a
                                               Calendar year data.
                                           b
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




                                           The Forest Service’s (FS) mission is “to achieve quality land management
Forest Service                             under the sustained multiple-use management concept to meet the diverse
                                           needs of people.” We visited the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico,
                                           the Nantahala-Pisgah7 National Forest in North Carolina, and the Manti-La
                                           Sal National Forest in Utah. Fishing, hunting, grazing, mining, timber
                                           harvesting, and recreation are authorized at all three forests.


Cibola National Forest                     The Cibola National Forest is one of seven national forests with lands in
                                           New Mexico. The forest’s name came into existence in 1931 when
                                           President Hoover changed the name of the Manzano National Forest to the
                                           Cibola National Forest. The Cibola is a collection of mountain ranges
                                           scattered east and south of Albuquerque and west to the border with
                                           Arizona. About 8 percent of the forest’s lands (138,000 acres) is designated
                                           as wilderness. The Cibola also manages more than 260,000 acres of
                                           national grasslands in northeastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and
                                           northwestern Texas. One portion of the Cibola shares a common border
                                           with the El Malpais National Monument.


                                           7
                                           Because the Nantahala National Forest and the Pisgah National Forest operate under one Land and
                                           Resource Management Plan, we refer to them as the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in this report.



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Manti-La Sal National                      The Manti-La Sal National Forest is one of nine national forests with lands
Forest                                     in Utah. It was formed through the combination of three forests—the
                                           Manti, the Monticello, and the La Sal. In 1908, the La Sal and Monticello
                                           forests merged as the La Sal. In 1949, the Manti and La Sal forests
                                           consolidated initially as the Manti and later it became the Manti-La Sal
                                           National Forest. The Manti-La Sal is located in segments in central and
                                           southeastern Utah and has a small portion that extends into Colorado.

                                           Low-sulfur coal is plentiful on one portion of the forest. In 1995 the
                                           Manti-La Sal produced roughly 85 percent of the low-sulfur coal mined in
                                           Utah. The forest contains 3,400 documented archaeological (cultural)
                                           sites, including early drawings, structures, and campsites.


Nantahala-Pisgah National                  The Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest is located in western North
Forest                                     Carolina. Established in 1920, the Nantahala portion is located on the
                                           border with both Tennessee and South Carolina and is the largest of the
                                           four national forests in North Carolina. The Pisgah portion is on the border
                                           with Tennessee. Both adjoin the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
                                           The Pisgah, established in 1916, was the first national forest established
                                           east of the Mississippi. The 6,500-acre Cradle of Forestry in America is a
                                           National Historic Site located within the Pisgah.

                                           Table II.6 provides various data on the three Forest Service units visited.

Table II.6: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
FS Units Visited                                                                                 National forest
                                                                                   Cibola               Manti-La Sal         Nantahala-Pisgah
                                           Acres                                1,631,000                   1,266,000                   1,031,000
                                           Visitation                           1,539,000                     942,000                 16,419,000
                                           FTEsa                                       163                         113                         153
                                           Costs                             $17,879,000                 $10,209,000                  $9,127,000
                                           Revenues                              $772,000                    $264,000                   $528,000
                                           Note: The Cibola and the Manti-La Sal each has a Forest Supervisor for the individual forest. In
                                           North Carolina, however, the Forest Supervisor covers all forests in the state, and the costs for this
                                           office are not attributable to individual forests. Thus, the Nantahala-Pisgah figure excludes any
                                           Supervisor costs, but the costs for the Supervisor are included in the figures for the Cibola and
                                           Manti-La Sal National Forests.
                                           a
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




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                            Units Visited




                            We visited the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, the Bosque del
Fish and Wildlife           Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, and the Pee Dee National
Service                     Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.


Bear River Migratory Bird   The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located 15 miles west of Brigham
Refuge                      City in northwestern Utah at the mouth of the Bear River, on the Bear
                            River Bay. The refuge receives most of its fresh water from the Bear River.
                            It was created in 1928 to provide a suitable refuge and feeding and
                            breeding grounds for migratory birds. A secondary objective was to
                            protect waterfowl from botulism, sometimes known as western duck
                            sickness. Prior to the refuge’s establishment, a 2 million bird die-off
                            occurred in 1910 and a 1.5 million bird die-off was recorded in 1920. Forty
                            percent of the refuge is open to hunting.

                            In 1983, flooding devastated the refuge. Salt water replaced the fresh
                            water, killing the vegetation; and all of the refuge’s buildings, including the
                            office-visitor center, were destroyed. In 1985, an estimated 95 percent of
                            the refuge’s lands were still covered by salt water from the Great Salt
                            Lake. Since 1989, the refuge has been in a rebuilding mode.

                            About 50 percent of the work has been completed on canals and diversion
                            channels, 75 percent of the restoration of 43 miles of dikes, and 80 percent
                            of the water control structures. In addition, work is about 25 percent
                            complete on sub-dividing the existing water impoundment units and
                            constructing new dikes. The refuge’s office is currently located off the
                            refuge in Brigham City. However, the refuge hopes to build a new
                            headquarters/education center on refuge lands in the future.

                            Fishing, hunting, and recreation are authorized in certain areas of the
                            refuge. The refuge has a 12-mile auto tour route for public viewing of the
                            wildlife. Grazing is authorized in certain areas and is done intermittently to
                            enhance wildlife habitat. Mining and timber production are not authorized.


Bosque Del Apache           In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Bosque del
National Wildlife Refuge    Apache National Wildlife Refuge as a refuge and a breeding ground for
                            migratory birds and other wildlife. Located in western-central New Mexico
                            in Socorro County, the refuge straddles the Rio Grande about 90 miles
                            south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.




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                            The refuge’s importance to Canada geese has diminished, while its
                            importance to other birds such as snow geese, ducks, and sandhill cranes
                            has increased. In 1975, the refuge began providing wintering habitat for a
                            special flock of endangered whooping cranes, and all lands on the refuge
                            below 4,600 feet in elevation are legally designated whooping crane critical
                            habitat.

                            The refuge’s roles include ensuring the preservation of the refuge’s land
                            and animals, expanding the understanding and appreciation of the
                            environment, providing a variety of wildlife experiences for people, and
                            providing for environmental research. Increased public demand has
                            expanded the refuge’s role in providing environmental education and
                            wildlife-oriented recreation. For example, over 90 percent of the visitors to
                            the refuge come for sightseeing, photography, or birdwatching. Fishing,
                            hunting, and recreation are authorized. Fishing, however, is minimal
                            because of the limited waters that are suitable for fisheries. The refuge has
                            no mining, timber production, or grazing.


Pee Dee National Wildlife   The Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 to provide
Refuge                      wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl. The refuge is located in two
                            counties in south-central North Carolina roughly 6 miles north of
                            Wadesboro, North Carolina. Forest covers about 6,100 acres (over
                            70 percent) of the refuge land, and almost 1,200 acres are used as
                            agricultural lands.

                            Fishing, hunting, and recreation are authorized at the refuge. Mining and
                            grazing are not authorized. This refuge was the only one that we visited
                            that had timber harvesting authorized. However, timber harvesting is done
                            within forest management guidelines for red-cockaded woodpeckers (an
                            endangered species located on the refuge).

                            Some refuge lands were reestablished in native switch grass. The grass
                            provides a seed source for birds and nesting cover for small game while
                            providing hay for a local dairy farmer. In addition, about 510 acres of
                            soybeans, 620 acres of corn, and 150 acres of winter wheat were planted
                            on refuge lands in 1995, which yielded approximately 15,000 bushels of
                            soybeans, 62,000 bushels of corn, and 4,800 bushels of wheat. The refuge
                            receives a portion of the crop or services from the farmers as payment for
                            the use of the land.




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                                           Table II.7 provides various data about the Bear River, Bosque del Apache,
                                           and Pee Dee refuges.

Table II.7: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
FWS Units Visited                                                                                 Refuge
                                                                            Bear River      Bosque del Apache                         Pee Dee
                                           Acres                                 72,972a                    57,191                       8,443
                                           Visitation                            18,900                   136,000                        8,700a
                                                b
                                           FTEs                                        7                        15                           5
                                           Costs                              $770,586                 $1,082,096                     $583,443
                                           Revenues                              $6,354                   $42,054                      $16,416
                                           a
                                           Calendar year data.
                                           b
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




                                           We visited two national parks and one national monument.
National Park Service
Great Smoky Mountains                      The Act of May 22, 1926, established Great Smoky Mountains National
National Park                              Park. The park straddles the border between Tennessee and North
                                           Carolina with about half of the park located in each state.

                                           The park is noted for the diversity of its plant and animal resources, the
                                           beauty of its ancient mountains, its remnants of American pioneer culture,
                                           and the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries. Its purpose is to
                                           preserve its exceptionally diverse resources and to provide for public
                                           benefit and enjoyment of the resources in ways that will leave them
                                           essentially unaltered. The uses that are allowed and active are those
                                           generally found in parks, including most recreational activities. Timber
                                           harvesting, mining, and hunting are prohibited. Some grazing is allowed,
                                           but only to maintain the historical look the park is trying to preserve.


Canyonlands National Park                  Canyonlands National Park was established in 1964. It is located in the
                                           heart of the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah. Canyonlands is part of
                                           the Southeast Utah Group, which includes Arches National Park and
                                           Natural Bridges National Monument.




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                                           The park is noted for its canyons, arches, buttes, towers, and other land
                                           forms and for its rock art and other remnants of ancient habitation. Its
                                           purpose is to preserve its outstanding scenic, scientific, and archaeological
                                           resources for public enjoyment. The uses that are allowed and active are
                                           those generally found in parks, including most recreational activities. The
                                           featured recreational uses include viewing the park’s spectacular
                                           landscapes, examining its archaeological treasures, driving four-wheel
                                           vehicles, hiking, and taking river float trips. Mining, grazing, and hunting
                                           are prohibited and some wood cutting is allowed.


El Malpais National                        El Malpais was established on December 31, 1987. It is located in the high
Monument                                   desert lands of west-central New Mexico. The monument is noted for its
                                           lava flows and related lava tube cave systems. The area also offers a
                                           diverse natural environment and evidence of American Indian and
                                           European history. The park’s purpose is to preserve for the benefit and
                                           enjoyment of present and future generations the Grants lava flow, the Las
                                           Ventanas Chacoan Outlier Archaeological Site, and other significant
                                           natural and cultural resources. The uses that are allowed and active are
                                           those generally found in parks, including such recreational activities as
                                           hiking and camping; exploring the lava tubes and cultural sites are popular
                                           activities. Mining, timber harvesting, and hunting are prohibited, while
                                           grazing is being phased out.

                                           Table II.8 provides overview information on the NPS units visited.

Table II.8: Fiscal Year 1995 Data on the
NPS Units Visited                                                               National park                     National monument
                                                              Canyonlands         Great Smoky Mountains                          El Malpais
                                           Acres                      338,000                       521,000                           114,000
                                           Visitation                 453,000                     8,948,000                            97,000
                                           FTEsa                          87                            275                               15
                                           Costs                 $4,454,000                     $13,171,000                      $1,238,000
                                           Revenuesb                 $276,000                     $733,000                                 0
                                           a
                                            A full-time equivalent (FTE) equals the number of hours worked divided by the number of
                                           compensable hours in a fiscal year.
                                           b
                                               Revenues from fees.



                                           Source: The agency’s data.




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Appendix III

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


               Five congressional members asked us to obtain information on land
               management activities at units of six federal agencies—the U.S.
               Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (FS); the Department of the
               Army’s Corps of Engineers (Corps); and the Department of the Interior’s
               Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Fish and
               Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS). Specifically, they
               asked us to (1) identify the land management activities carried out at
               individual units of these agencies and identify common activities across
               the agencies, (2) describe the changes over the last 25 years in the
               missions and activities these agencies and units carry out, and (3) provide
               information on the costs to operate these units and the revenues they
               generated.

               In performing our work, we visited 14 land management units, which
               included parks, forests, and refuges. We interviewed unit officials and
               obtained and reviewed documents and other data, including land and
               resource management plans, annual reports, and environmental
               assessments. In addition, we met with and obtained documentation from
               agency officials at headquarters and other organizational levels within
               each agency. We also reviewed legislation creating the agencies and their
               specific units.

               To identify the land management activities performed by units of these
               agencies, we selected three states, identified units within the states, and
               identified activities at each unit. We selected Utah and New Mexico
               because they include units for most of the six land management agencies
               and because they had comparable state-managed land units. We added
               North Carolina to provide the perspective of an eastern state that also had
               comparable state-managed units.

               In each state, we chose units with large land areas that, when possible,
               were also located close to each other. In Utah and New Mexico, we
               selected one unit in each state for each agency, except for the Corps,
               which did not have a unit in Utah. Prior to selecting a third state, we
               agreed to exclude units of BOR and the Corps because our initial work with
               these agencies showed that they are primarily water-management agencies
               that have substantially different land management responsibilities than the
               other four agencies. Subsequently, we selected North Carolina, where we
               chose units of FS, FWS, and NPS. BLM does not manage any land in the state.
               Because our work was performed in a limited number of states and units
               within those states, we recognize that the results cannot be used to make
               generalized statements about all units in an agency.



               Page 30                              GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Appendix III
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




To identify the land management activities at the various units, we
obtained expenditure reports for each unit. On the basis of these data, we
identified activities with the largest costs which, in total, accounted for
approximately 60 percent of each unit’s fiscal year 1995 costs. We selected
fiscal year 1995 cost data because it was the latest year for which
complete data were available when we initiated our review. We excluded
general administration, which in some cases was a major expenditure,
because we did not consider it a specific land management activity.
Expenditure reports for some units did not provide sufficient detail for us
to identify the costs for various specific activities. For those units, we
asked unit managers to identify the major activities for us.

From the activities meeting the above criteria, we selected those that were
performed at units in half or more of the agencies, and we consider them
to be common activities. To describe these common activities, we
identified typical tasks that unit staff performed in carrying out these
activities. We obtained the information from discussions with unit
management and staff and our review of unit documents.

To determine changes in the agencies’ objectives and activities, we
reviewed legislation; obtained and reviewed agency and unit documents,
such as plans and historical summaries; and interviewed unit officials
about the changes. To obtain unit costs and revenues for fiscal year 1995,
we requested and obtained the data from either the individual unit or from
the agency’s financial center. We did not independently verify these data.




Page 31                              GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Appendix IV

Major Contributors to This Report


               Robert Cronin
               Paul Grace
               James Hunt
               Casandra Joseph
               Kenneth Kurz
               Jeffery Malcolm




               Page 32           GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Related GAO Products


              Forest Service: Construction of National Forest Roads (GAO/RCED-97-160R,
              May 27, 1997).

              Forest Service Decision-Making: A Framework for Improving Performance
              (GAO/RCED-97-71, Apr. 29, 1997).

              Tongass National Forest: Lack of Accountability for Time and Costs Has
              Delayed Forest Plan Revision (GAO/T-RCED-97-153, Apr. 29, 1997).

              Federal Land Management: Authorized Uses in the Grand
              Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GAO/RCED-97-117R, Apr. 17, 1997).

              Park Service: Managing for Results Could Strengthen Accountability
              (GAO/RCED-97-125, Apr. 10, 1997).

              Minerals Management: Costs for Onshore Minerals Leasing Programs in
              Three States (GAO/RCED-97-31, Feb. 27, 1997).

              National Parks: Park Service Needs Better Information to Preserve and
              Protect Resources (GAO/T-RCED-97-76, Feb. 27, 1997).

              Forest Service Decision-Making: Greater Clarity Needed on Mission
              Priorities (GAO/T-RCED-97-81, Feb. 25, 1997).

              Emergency Salvage Sale Program: Forest Service Met Its Target, but More
              Timber Could Have Been Offered for Sale (GAO/RCED-97-53, Feb. 24, 1997).

              Land Management Agencies: Information on Selected Administrative
              Policies and Practices (GAO/RCED-97-40, Feb. 11, 1997).

              U.S. Forest Service: Fees for Recreation Special-Use Permits Do Not
              Reflect Fair Market Value (GAO/RCED-97-16, Dec. 20, 1996).

              Timber Management: Opportunities to Limit Future Liability for
              Suspended or Canceled Timber Sale Contracts (GAO/RCED-97-14, Oct. 31,
              1996).

              Bureau of Reclamation: An Assessment of the Environmental Impact
              Statement on the Operations of the Glen Canyon Dam (GAO/RCED-97-12,
              Oct. 2, 1996).




              Page 33                              GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Related GAO Products




National Park Service: Activities Within Park Borders Have Caused
Damage to Resources (GAO/RCED-96-202, Aug. 23, 1996).

Salvage Sale Fund’s Deposits and Outlays (GAO/RCED-96-240R, Aug. 22, 1996).

Federal Lands: Concession Reform is Needed (GAO/T-RCED/GGD-96-223,
July 18, 1996).

Bureau of Reclamation: Information on Allocation and Repayment of
Costs of Constructing Water Projects (GAO/RCED-96-109, July 3, 1996).

Federal Land Management: Streamlining and Reorganization Issues
(GAO/T-RCED-96-209, June 27, 1996).

Forest Service’s Reforestation Funding: Financial Sources, Uses, and
Condition of the Knutson-Vandenberg Fund (GAO/RCED-96-15, June 21, 1996)

Forest Service’s Financial Data Limitations (GAO/RCED-96-198R, June 19,
1996).

Comments on H.R. 2107 (GAO/RCED-96-189R, June 11, 1996).

Public Timber: Federal and State Programs Differ Significantly in Pacific
Northwest (GAO/RCED-96-108, May 23, 1996).

National Park Service: Information on Special Account Funds at Selected
Park Units (GAO/RCED-96-90, May 17, 1996).

Federal Land Use (GAO/RCED-96-139R, May 7, 1996).

U.S. Forest Service: Fee System for Rights-of-Way Program Needs
Revision (GAO/RCED-96-84, Apr. 22, 1996).

Tongass National Forest Timber Volumes (GAO/RCED-96-122R, Apr. 16, 1996).

Lands Managed by the Corps of Engineers (GAO/RCED-96-101R, Apr. 2, 1996).

Federal Lands: Views on H.R. 2941—A Bill to Improve Housing for
Employees of Land Management Agencies (GAO/T-RCED-96-110, Mar. 26,
1996).




Page 34                               GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
Related GAO Products




Forest Service: Issues Related to Managing National Forests for Multiple
Uses (GAO/T-RCED-96-111, Mar. 26, 1996).

Federal Lands: Information on the Acreage, Management, and Use of
Federal and Other Lands (GAO/T-RCED-96-104, Mar. 21, 1996).

Land Ownership: Information on the Acreage, Management, and Use of
Federal and Other Lands (GAO/RCED-96-40, Mar. 13, 1996).

Federal Land Management: Information on Efforts to Inventory
Abandoned Hard Rock Mines (GAO/RCED-96-30, Feb. 23, 1996).

Federal Lands: Information on Land Owned and Acquired (GAO/T-RCED-96-73,
Feb. 6, 1996).

Forest Service: Issues Relating to Its Decisionmaking Process
(GAO/T-RCED-96-66, Jan. 25, 1996).

Forest Service: Observations on the Emergency Salvage Sale Program
(GAO-T-RCED-96-38, Nov. 29, 1995).

Forest Service: Distribution of Timber Sales Receipts Fiscal Years 1992-94
(GAO/RCED-95-237FS, Sept. 8, 1995).

National Parks: Difficult Choices Need to Be Made About the Future of the
Parks (GAO/RCED-95-238, Aug. 30, 1995).

Federal Lands: Information on the Use and Impact of Off-Highway
Vehicles (GAO/RCED-95-209, Aug. 18, 1995).

Federal Lands: Views on Reform of Recreation Concessioners
(GAO/T-RCED-95-250, July 25, 1995).

National Parks: Views on the Denver Service Center and Information on
Related Construction Activities (GAO/RCED-95-79, June 23, 1995).

Water Quality: Information on Salinity Control Projects in the Colorado
River Basin (GAO/T-RCED-95-185, May 11, 1995).

Water Quality: Information on Salinity Control Projects in the Colorado
River Basin (GAO/RCED-95-58, Mar. 29, 1995).




Page 35                              GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
           Related GAO Products




           Federal Lands: Information on Land Owned and on Acreage With
           Conservation Restrictions (GAO/T-RCED-95-117, Mar. 2, 1995).

           Private Timberlands: Private Timber Harvests Not Likely to Replace
           Declining Federal Harvests (GAO/RCED-95-51, Feb. 16, 1995).

           National Park Service: Better Management and Broader Restructuring
           Efforts Are Needed (GAO/T-RCED-95-101, Feb. 9, 1995).

           Federal Lands: Information on Land Owned and on Acreage With
           Conservation Restrictions (GAO/RCED-95-73FS, Jan. 30, 1995).




(140112)   Page 36                             GAO/RCED-97-141 Land Management Agencies
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