Page images
PDF
EPUB

existing roads as a method to gain access to natural resource lands,

I am very pleased to see the section in the bill that refers to the

California Desert Area.

The California Desert contains many unique and delicate

resources that require special attention.

However, there exist many other

desert areas in the natural resource lands which have resources as unique and

as

delicate

as the California lands.

We suggest that the bill include an

additional section that provides for a study of all desert areas within the

national resource lands.

This study should include:

(1) A description (including maps) of each desert area on the public

lands.

(2)

An analysis of the present condition of the total ecosystem of

each such desert area.

(3)

A projection of the suitable uses which each desert area could

accept without damaging the total ecosystem.

(4)

An estimate of the natural resources contained in desert areas.

(5)

A projection of the kinds of use demands which were likely to be

placed upon each desert area; and

(6) Recommendations as to needed administrative or legislative action

which is necessary to insure that Federal management of the

desert areas is adequate to fully protect and develop each desert

area.

We would also like to emphasize that a major purpose of this bill should

be to promote rural stability and well-being by helping to stablizė

the production

of livestock.

Approximately 30,000 families (24,000 actual leases) are dependent

on BLM leases,

These leases are important to the western economy and social

structure.

We would like to, therefore, see language in this bill which favors

family farms in sales and leases of natural resource lands.

The family farm is

the basis of the western social structure.

This structure is slowly being eroded

by agri-business's recent aquisitions and conglomeration of family farms.

Both

the Homestead Act and the Taylor Grazing Act emphasize family sized farms and

we would like to see you take their precedent by adding language that favors

family farms in both leases and sales.

While we recognize that enforcement authority is required, we cannot

endorse with a good conscience all of the provisions of this bill that deal with enforcement. We are especially concerned with sub-section (i) of section 307

which gives the Secretary power to designate any employee to carry firearms,

We

feel that this is an unnecessary provision that could easily be left out without

significant reduction of the authority needed to effectively manage the natural

resource lands.

This brings me to a further point concerning the Bureau of Land

Management.

The BLM has shown us all too often their bias towards the non

renewable resources and against renewable resources,

Their lack of ORV control,

their nonchalance towards overgrazing and their proposal of transportation

corridors through Alaska more than emphasize their inequity in management.

We are, therefore, very wary of giving the BLM, as it exists now, an excess

of power and authority.

Perhaps some stronger language emphasizing the multiple

use concept could be added to the bill.

In addition we would like to see the

language in Section 5 on public participation strengthened to include comments

on the planning and management of the natural resource lands, participation in

the formulation of plans and management programs, and hearings on any applica

tion for a permit, license, lease for, or change in, classification of public

interest lands for any purpose.

The public could, therefore, more carefully

monitor the actions of the BLM.

A final suggestion towards changing the BLM would be to revise the

Bureau's personnel manual, making the decision making process more clearly

defined.

There would be, of course, an emphasis on multiple use and sustained

yield.

I would like to thank the Committee for my opportunity to testify.

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE

Dedicated to Wildlife Restoration
WIRE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D. C. 20005

Statement of Daniel A. Poole

before the
Subcommittee on Environment and Land Resources

of the
Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs

on s. 507
May 15, 1975

Mr. Chairman:

I am Daniel A. Poole, president of the Wildlife Management Institute.

The Institute is one of the older national conservation organizations.

Its

program has been devoted to restoration and improved management of renewable

natural resources for more than 60 years.

The true importance of s. 507 will not be reflected in this hearing.

Values of national resource lands are not as well-known to the general public as

those on national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.

That lack of public aware

ness plus deteriorating conditions on much of the more than 450 million acres

attests to the lack of guidance, support, and stature of the Bureau of Land Manage

ment.

Such circumstances are ample justification for swift enactment of a strong

Organic Act for BLM.

We are pleased to join other conservationists in endorsing

S. 507.

It surely will be the most significant public lands legislation before

this Congress.

The Institute long has been concerned about the tremendous waste of

national resource land values. Opportunities to improve the lands' contribution

to local and national welfare have been continually over looked and lost. Now, con

sequently, the situation 18 worsening. Today, there is widespread deterioration of

those resources, reminicent of the early 1900's.

In order to improve public values of national resource lands, we first

must stop their degradation. And at present BLM does not have the authority, direc

tion, funding, or manpower to do it.

BLM readily admits the situation 18 bad and

getting worse.

With respect to one resource va lue, range, adequate documentation is

-2

provided in a recent report prepared for the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

That report stated that 83 percent of BLM's 162.9 million acres of range

[blocks in formation]

About 105 million more acres are in a static or indefinite category.

They need im

provement.

Wildlife habitat on national resource lands outside Alaska shares a

similar predicament.

of 111 million acres of big game habitat, 52 million acres

[blocks in formation]

acres and 30.3 percent of small game acres are continuing to decline at present,

There are 33 wildlife species occurring on national resource lands that

are classified as endangered.

BLM states that "public land management at the

existing level may not insure the survival of these endangered species." That con

flicts directly with mandates of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

For the com

mittee's information, we have attached to this statement a summary outline of BLM's

wildlife program.

A second and most useful reference document is the 1975 BLM

report on the "Effects of Livestock Grazing on Wildlife, Water shed, Recreation and

Other Resource Values in Nevada,"

Stream, lake, rangeland, and forest management as well as energy and mineral

development control are all below publicly acceptable standards on BLM administered

land.

Such conditions are little more than a national tragedy, especially now,

when

the resources provided by those lands are needed so urgent ly.

The knowledge to correct those ills and others such as inadequate law en

forcement authority and inadequate recreation-use management is available.

But

there must be a commitment by Congress and the Administration to provide the authorities,

« PreviousContinue »