Public Land Management:

Attention to Wildlife Is Limited

RCED-91-64: Published: Mar 7, 1991. Publicly Released: May 10, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal wildlife management on public lands, focusing on: (1) whether the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) appropriately considered wildlife interests during federal land use planning processes; and (2) the impact of federal management practices on wildlife conditions.

GAO found that: (1) no legislation existed that specified an appropriate level of consideration of wildlife interests in federal land management; (2) wildlife protection and enhancement activities received between 3 percent and 7 percent of available BLM and Service staffing and funding; (3) while BLM and the Service uniformly considered wildlife needs during land use planning, when conflicts occurred, the agencies frequently favored consumptive interests over wildlife needs; (4) BLM and the Service did not always implement actions to benefit wildlife that were included in land use plans; (5) data were not available to judge the overall effect of BLM and Service policies and practices on wildlife conditions; (6) the agencies' land use priorities, budgets, and staffing met grazing, logging, and mining objectives first and provided for wildlife interests as circumstances permitted; and (7) BLM and the Service initiated efforts to provide more balanced consideration of wildlife needs in their management activities.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Senator Cranston, for whom this work was done, has resigned from the Senate. It is unlikely anyone else will propose legislation.

    Matter: If Congress believes that wildlife is not receiving adequate consideration by the agencies as they balance public lands uses, it should spell out more explicit expectations in law, such as requiring both agencies to maintain viable populations of species on their lands.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Senator Cranston, for whom this work was done, has resigned from the Senate. It is unlikely anyone else will propose legislation.

    Matter: If Congress believes that wildlife is not receiving adequate consideration by the agencies as they balance public lands uses, it should specify that the agencies' appropriations should provide a greater share of funding for wildlife.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Senator Cranston, for whom this work was done, has resigned from the Senate. It is unlikely anyone else will propose legislation.

    Matter: If Congress believes that wildlife is not receiving adequate consideration by the agencies as they balance public lands uses, it should provide specific guidance and funding to the agencies for gathering wildlife and habitat inventory and monitoring information to provide the baseline data and status and trend information needed to determine the status of wildlife on public lands and the effect of the agencies' management, and require the agencies to periodically report the results of the monitoring to the Congress.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Senator Cranston, for whom this work was done, has resigned from the Senate. It is unlikely anyone else will propose legislation.

    Matter: If Congress believes that wildlife is not receiving adequate consideration by the agencies as they balance public land uses, it should revise the Oregon and California Lands Act to require multiple-use and sustained-yield management for various resources, including wildlife, on subject lands.

 

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