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The Bureau of Land Management’s Conservation Mandate – Areas of Critical Environmental Concern in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico
In this report, WildEarth Guardians analyzes the effort of the BLM in four states to protect ‘areas of critical environmental concern’. The ACEC mandate, if deployed as Congress originally intended, could provide the BLM with a road map to respond to the mounting biodiversity crisis as well as meet other emerging conservation challenges and, in doing so, elevate the agency’s profile as a steward of our Nation’s unique natural heritage.
The BLM is often unwilling to designate ACECs where the most serious threats to resource values occur and where the most controversy over management actions is likely to take place. Where ACECs do exist in these conditions, a failure to implement necessary management directives or to enforce existing management directives has almost universally compromised the effectiveness of the ACEC designation. A fundamental change is necessary, from the highest levels of the Interior Department to the on-the-ground land managers that recognizes the need to limit or discontinue destructive land uses on the small percentage of lands that are truly “areas of critical environmental concern”.