Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering federal lands. Headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado, and with oversight over 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2), it governs one eighth of the country's landmass.[3]

Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management Triangle
Flag of the Bureau of Land Management
Agency overview
FormedDecember 10, 1946; 74 years ago (1946-12-10)
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionUnited States federal government
Headquarters760 Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506
EmployeesOver 10,000[1]
Annual budget$1.31 billion (FY2021)[2]
Agency executive
  • Nada Culver, Performing delegated duties of the BLM director
Parent agencyU.S. Department of the Interior
Horses crossing a plain near the Simpson Park Wilderness Study Area in central Nevada, managed by the Battle Mountain BLM Field Office
Snow-covered cliffs of Snake River Canyon, Idaho, managed by the Boise District of the BLM

President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service.[4] The agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862.[4] Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.[5]

This map shows land owned by different federal government agencies. The yellow represents the Bureau of Land Management's holdings.

The mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations."[6] Originally BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by.[5] All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres (630,000 km2) of BLM public lands.[7] The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 27 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Conservation Lands (formerly known as the National Landscape Conservation System), totaling about 36 million acres (150,000 km2).[8] In addition the National Conservation Lands include nearly 2,400 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers,[9] and nearly 6,000 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails.[10] There are more than 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands. Total energy leases generated approximately $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states, and Native American groups.[11][12][13]