PLNR-12-1-Appropriate Application Of ACEC Desigation On BLM Lands

WHEREAS the 1976 Federal Lands Policy Management Act conceived of the ACEC (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern) program to establish a new conservation ecology mandate for the BLM; and

WHEREAS ACEC are a tool available to the BLM to protect significant historic, cultural or scenic values; a fish or wildlife resources; a natural process or system; or areas of natural hazard; and

WHEREAS the Federal Land Policy and Management Act states that ACEC designations by themselves do not change the allowed uses of public lands. 43 U.S.C. § 1711(a); and

WHEREAS the regulations implementing the Federal Land Policy and Management Act state that “substantial significance and values . . . requires more than local significance and special worth, consequence, distinctiveness, or cause for concern.” 43 C.F.R. 1610.7(a)(2); and

WHEREAS BLM Manual on ACECs expressly instructs that:  “An ACEC designation shall not be used as a substitute for a wilderness suitability recommendation.  BLM Manual 1613; and

WHEREAS proposed ACEC contains significant use restrictions that should be carefully balanced against existing uses and rights;


  • ACEC should be carried forward and designated only when it’s absolutely impossible to protect said resource using standard stipulations and thoughtful active management; and
  • ACEC should not be applied to an area with an existing right whereby the new designation would threaten the viability of the existing right without a carve out acknowledging that existing right; or
  • The future implementation of an existing right might have the potential to reduce the areas of eligibility for ACEC designation, that ACEC’s should not be used as defacto wilderness study areas.


Adopted September 7, 2012

Amended September 8, 2017


Resolution in PDF Format