On November 15, 2022 the Bureau of Land Management issued an Instructional Memorandum that provides its national policy for wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity on the public lands it manages. The goal is “maintaining, improving, and /or conserving habitat connectivity and restoring degraded fish and wildlife habitat to provide for increased habitat connectivity.” It directs its state offices to inventory and “assess areas of habitat connectivity and conduct planning, on-the-ground management actions, and conservation and restoration efforts to ensure those areas remain intact and healthy, and able to support diverse wildlife and plant populations.” “State Directors will determine which priority species and which priority habitats to prioritize for initial assessment in consultation with states and Tribes.” It defines habitat connectivity as ‘habitats on BLM administered public lands that support or facilitate priority species movements and other ecological processes, such as seed dispersal, migrations, and stopover sites.” BLM notes that habitat connectivity, permeability and resilience has become a “significant need” as habitats are increasingly fragmented and degraded. The policy emphasizes collaboration with state agencies and Tribes, and other stakeholders.
This policy is important for the BLM’s resource management plans in Colorado and its current work to develop a statewide amendment to its resource management plans. CWF had submitted comments on the first phase (scoping) of the statewide amendment development process in early September and looks forward to the draft plan.
Here is the link to the BLM’s press release.