By Derrick Henry, Public Affairs Specialist
The BLM has long depended on working with others — through partnerships — to enhance public lands and to carry out its multiple-use mission. Meaningful engagement with diverse partners helps ensure that management decisions and efforts reflect the interests of affected communities. These partners include Tribes and governments, community programs, universities, and national organizations to provide people from all walks of life with opportunities to connect with the natural world.
In our Sound Investment 2022 brochure, we highlight the results of some of these partnerships and engagement programs from fiscal year 2021. These activities provided hands-on experiences for professional development and opportunities to engage in citizen science. Other opportunities included participating in conservation projects, learning about the histories and cultures tied to public lands, and ways to enhance local recreation.
For example, the New Mexico Habitat Stamp Program in fiscal year 2021 raised $1 million for habitat restoration and conservation projects on federal lands. The program works by requiring a Habitat Stamp, in addition to the proper license, to fish, hunt, or trap on BLM- and U.S. Forest Service-managed lands and waters in New Mexico. Staff from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the BLM, and the U.S Forest Service regularly collaborate to identify and develop conservation and rehabilitation project opportunities to improve and restore fish and wildlife habitat throughout New Mexico.
Also in fiscal year 2021, approximately 12,463 volunteers contributed more than a half-million hours of service through partnerships and engagement programs across the BLM. Meanwhile 1,714 youth engagement programs supported 32,554 participants in fiscal year 2021. An additional 1,114 programs that focus on K-12 education supported 26,554 participants. On top of that, the Civilian Climate Corps, or CCC, helped 1,277 young people and veterans receive work experience. The CCC offers participants job skill development, exposes youth to public service, expands understanding and appreciation of the nation’s natural and cultural resources, and enhances interest and qualifications for conservation careers.
The BLM serves as a model in raising awareness of public lands’ value and engaging youth and the public in their stewardship. Through these programs, the bureau can promote safe and enjoyable visitor experiences, encourage participation in volunteer projects, and inspire community involvement.
BLM employees take government policy and turn it into real work on the ground. This article is based on information from the BLM’s 2022 Sound Investment brochure. The brochure, which uses fiscal year 2021 data, highlights the various activities that take place on public lands, and their contributions to the national economy. In fiscal year 2021, authorized use and management of BLM-administered lands supported $201 billion in economic output and nearly 783,000 jobs across the country.