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DoI Press Release: Spotlight on National Landscape Conservation System

For Immediate Release
Date: November 15, 2010
Contact: Kendra Barkoff, DOI
Phone: (202) 208-6416

Secretary Salazar Establishes New Directorate For National Landscape Conservation System

Elevated management focus for 27 million acres of nationally significant public lands

LAS VEGAS, NV – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued a Secretarial Order elevating the Office of the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the level of a directorate within BLM.

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“This action reflects the growing importance of the 27-million acre National Landscape Conservation System to local economies, to the health of communities, and to the conservation of some of America’s greatest landscapes,” Salazar said at the National Landscape Conservation System Summit in Las Vegas. “The BLM plays a special role in protecting America’s great outdoors for the benefit of all Americans – for it is the national conservation lands that contain the forests and canyons that families love to explore, the backcountry where children learn to hunt and fish, and the places that tell the story of our history and our cultures. Each of these places within the National Landscape Conservation System holds special meaning to the American people and is an engine for jobs and economic growth in local communities.”

This National Landscape Conservation System was established as an integral part of the Bureau of Land Management by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, a bipartisan initiative that responded to the critical need, as the population of the West increases, to conserve open spaces that are a unique part of America’s heritage. As an integral part of the BLM’s multiple-use mission, conservation is a long-term investment that provides quality of life and economic benefits for current and future generations.

The system contains many of our Nation’s most treasured landscapes, including scientific, historic and cultural resources, wilderness and wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers, national monuments, national conservation areas, and scenic and historic trails, among others.

These lands are managed as an integral part of the larger landscape, in collaboration with the neighboring landowners and surrounding communities. The management objectives are to maintain biodiversity and promote ecological connectivity and resilience in the face of climate change. When consistent with the values for which they were designated, lands in the system may allow appropriate multiple uses, such as grazing, energy development and tourism.

Managers of the system recognize the importance of a diversity of viewpoints when considering management options. These nationally important landscapes are managed from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing upon the expertise of specialists throughout the BLM, and in coordination with the tribes, other Federal, state, and local government agencies, interested local landowners, adjacent communities, and other public and private interests.

The directorate will be called the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships. The Assistant Secretary – Land and Minerals Management is responsible for ensuring implementation of this Order within 120 days. This responsibility may be delegated, as appropriate.

The signing of the Secretarial Order followed Salazar’s remarks to a summit of the National Landscape Conservation System, attended by several hundred BLM officials and employees as well as non-government stakeholders and state and local representatives.

The Secretarial Order is available HERE.

The Secretary’s remarks are available HERE.

New Report: Agency Coordination Improves Border Security and Public Lands Protection

For Immediate Release
Date: October 27, 2010

Contact: Dr. Kirk Emerson, Kirk Emerson & Associates
Phone: 520-690-5970
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior
Phone: 805-895-7057

Contact: Ron Colburn, Former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol
Phone: 571-217-2626

Agency Coordination Improves Border Security and Public Lands Protection

New Report Presents Case Studies, Other Examples of Successful Agency Efforts

A new research report released today documents how interagency cooperation along the U.S.-Mexico border has improved both border security and the protection of wilderness areas and wildlife refuges adjacent to the border. “Interagency Cooperation on U.S.-Mexico Border Wilderness Issues,” authored by Dr. Kirk Emerson, environmental mediator and research associate at the University of Arizona’ s School of Government and Public Policy and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, overviews numerous successful cooperative inter-agency activities occurring along the southwestern U.S. border in wilderness and other protected areas despite challenges that can make such cooperation difficult.

The report includes six border area case studies—from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California— and numerous other examples of successful collaboration to meet the twin goals of national security and public lands stewardship by agencies within the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and Agriculture, with an emphasis on U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and federal land management agencies. The report is based on research Dr. Emerson conducted during the summer of 2010, including over 50 interviews with border security professionals, land management agencies, and border areas.

Recent media reports have emphasized—and in some cases sensationalized—the challenges of meeting these twin goals and cases where total success has been elusive. However, the reality is that, after much trial and error, cooperation among federal departments and agencies charged with protection of the border and public land management has improved and led to many successes in the past few years. This report generally corroborates the results of a recently issued GAO report on interagency cooperation that found increased collaboration among the Border Patrol and federal land management agencies.

“Close collaboration between the Border Patrol and the Department of the Interior on many stretches of the border, including wilderness areas, has improved border security while sustaining land protections and community livelihoods,” said Lynn Scarlett, former deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior under President George W. Bush.

The report provides examples of this cooperation in a variety of contexts including interagency communications, enhanced joint capacity, border security assistance by land management agencies, assistance in mitigation and restoration, and joint efforts to protect public health and safety.

“There can be no compromise in securing America against those who would do us harm. But, common sense solutions can be achieved,” said Ron Colburn, former deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol who worked at the agency for over 31 years. “ I believe that the collaborative process has produced and will continue to produce righteous outcomes in protecting America while also protecting our pristine wild lands.”

One of the report’ s case studies analyzes the consultative and stakeholder process behind the proposed Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks Wilderness Act (S. 1689). The provisions of this bill would create new wilderness and protected areas near the border that, according to Commissioner Alan Bersin of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “ would significantly enhance the flexibility of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to operate in this border area.”

Dr. Kirk Emerson is also the former director of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution of the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. She has authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on collaborative resource management and environmental conflict resolution (see http:/ /home.mindspring.com/~kirk_emerson).

This research report was completed for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

“Interagency Cooperation on U.S.-Mexico Border Wilderness Issues” can be found online at: http://kirk_emerson.home.mindspring.com/Interagency_Border_Cooperation.pdf.

For more information: Nathan Newcomer, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, 505-250-4225, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NMWA Awards First Conservation Wolf Stamp Grant

For Immediate Release
Date: November 3, 2010
Contact: Stephen Capra, The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
Phone: 505-843-8696 x 105
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

wolfstamp 200x250New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Awards First Conservation Wolf Stamp Grant to Conservationist Elke Duerr of Wild Wolf Film

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA) is excited to announce that it has awarded its first-ever Conservation Wolf Stamp Grant to film maker and conservationist Elke Duerr for her Wild Wolf Film project.

The grant of $2,500 supports Ms. Duerr’s Wild Wolf Film, a multi-year outreach effort educating the public on Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction, and “advancing the coexistence of wilderness and civilization.”

“Ms. Duerr has shown the heart and passion needed by us all if we are to save this magnificent creature,” said NMWA Executive Director Stephen Capra. “The present political climate only amplifies the need for people like Elke to help spread the word on the value of protecting species like the Mexican wolf to maintain a healthy ecosystem.”

Upon receiving the award, Duerr commented: “Thank you to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance for acknowledging my efforts to aid in the recovery of the Mexican Gray Wolves by awarding me a grant. It is my heart’s desire to create awareness for the interconnectedness and beauty of all life on this planet and to help implement creative solutions to a healthy coexistence between wolves and humans. We all belong in the web of life.”

The grant is the first to be awarded from NMWA’s Conservation Wolf Stamp Fund, generated from the sale of NMWA’s first-ever Conservation Wolf Stamp. NMWA’s Conservation Wolf Stamp is similar to the Duck Stamp sold by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, except no hunting is related to the sale of the Wolf Stamp. All proceeds go into the Conservation Wolf Stamp Fund, administered by NMWA and distributed directly to projects and organizations working for Mexican Gray Wolf recovery.

NMWA will award further grants to worthy projects in the coming months, and looks forward to releasing a new Wolf Stamp for sale each year to support the Conservation Wolf Stamp Fund. To learn more about the Conservation Wolf Stamp, visit the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance website.

Read about Elke Duerr’s Wild Wolf Film project on the artist’s website, http://www.wildwolffilm.com/

Governor Proclaims Roadless Recreation Week in New Mexico

For Immediate Release
Date: August 5, 2010
Contact: Nathan Newcomer, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
Phone: 505-250-4225


Governor Richardson Proclaims First Annual
“Roadless Recreation Week”

Outdoor activities start Saturday in New Mexico national forests and across the country

New Mexico, (August 5, 2010) – Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) joins  other governors and conservation groups from across the country to support America’s first annual Roadless Recreation Week, August 7-15, which will host more than 50 recreation activities in national forest roadless areas in New Mexico and in 12 other states. The weeklong celebration highlights the importance of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, issued to protect nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forests across the country, and encourages the public to go “all out” to enjoy the outdoor opportunities these areas provide.

Governor Richardson issued a proclamation today to “recognize the recreational, environmental and economic values” roadless areas provide and calls the national roadless rule “one of the most popular federal policies ever developed.” The proclamation notes that roadless areas are a source of drinking water for 60 million Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as recreation jobs in rural communities.

The USDA estimates there were 173.5 million recreation visits to U.S. Forest System lands in 2009, with more than 57 percent of those visits for activities such as hiking, mountain biking and fishing.

“People can have fun and show their support for saving these treasured places,” said Nathan Newcomer, Associate Director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “Roadless forests are some of the best outdoor recreation areas we have in the state, and New Mexicans are enjoying their roadless areas even more today than they did when the roadless rule was enacted in 2001.”

The first annual Roadless Recreation Week occurs as a federal court prepares to issue an important decision about the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The rule was issued in 2001 by the Clinton administration to protect roughly one-third of undeveloped U.S. Forest Service lands. It was the result of the largest public lands review process in U.S. history, with more than 1.2 million comments and 600 public hearings.

The rule has been the subject of conflicting court decisions over the past decade. In August 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling to reinstate the roadless rule for most roadless areas, but a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision is still pending. The Obama administration has expressed strong support for the national policy, and has asked the Tenth Circuit to uphold the rule.

New Mexico residents can go to www.nmwild.org to find out about the week’s activities in their area, and to learn how to support roadless area protection, and read Governor Richardson’s proclamation.

CLICK HERE to view Governor Richardson’s proclamation.