The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has introduced a proposed rule (April 3, 2023, Federal Register) that seeks to enhance the protection and restoration of public lands. The proposed rule expands the definition of conservation to encompass protection and restoration and deems conservation to be as important as other uses, like grazing and recreation. It outlines a framework for informed decision-making in planning, permitting, and programs by utilizing land health standards and guidelines across all BLM lands and uses, instead of only grazing authorizations, while also mandating that federally recognized Tribes be consulted.

To facilitate this rule, the BLM intends to establish conservation leases that focus on the restoration or mitigation of public lands. These leases would run concurrently with other authorizations that are compatible with conservation use and offer opportunities for public engagement, as well as working with Tribes to safeguard cultural resources.

BLM will be accepting public comments regarding this proposal until June 20, 2023.