Thursday, May 10, 2007

Support the National Landscape Conservation System Act

The Bureau of Land Management controls over 264 million acres of public lands, the vast majority of which is west of the Mississippi. The lands are used for a variety of purposes: some for resource extraction, some for ranching, and some for recreation. About 26 million acres have been set aside for conservation under the National Landscape Conservation System, which was created by the BLM in 2000. The purpose of the NLCS is to preserve open space through its administration of National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Historic and Scenic Trails.

The National Landscape Conservation System Act (H.R. 2016), if passed, will make the NLCS a permanent part of the Bureau of Land Management. Birders, in particular, should be interested in seeing support for the new conservation system. Public lands are home to many rare and declining species. Even putting aside the rarities, there is a great diversity of avifauna in the public lands system. (See for example, the bird lists from California or the raptor list from Snake River.) Supporting the NLCS helps ensure that these birds still have proper habitat in the future.

You can encourage Congress to approve this legislation by sending an email to your representative.