Who Approves Land Management Plans? 

When a private company wants to develop on public lands, the agency that manages these lands must submit a permit application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These permits must meet certain criteria, and the BLM evaluates each application to determine whether it meets the criteria. The BLM also reviews permit applications from energy companies to determine which areas are available for energy development. In addition, land use plans outline areas that are suitable for livestock grazing. A grazing plan defines the amount of forage available, as well as the management practices needed for a specific area. 

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Planning rule changes 

Planning rule changes for land management plans may make it easier for local governments to approve projects. New rules allow cities and counties to waive several requirements related to development permits. For example, under GS 160A-385, cities and counties may now waive certain requirements regarding the approval of land-use plans, including a 24-month discontinuance period. Moreover, cities and counties do not have to notify the public about these rule changes. 

Planning rule changes for approval of land management plans may also restrict a property owner’s ability to develop a development. For example, under GS 160A-385, a landowner cannot apply for a land use permit unless the lot was created prior to September 1, 1972. In addition, a subdivision under 35 acres must undergo a Subdivision Review. 

Public participation in the development of land management plans 

Public participation is a crucial part of land management planning. It provides an opportunity for residents to comment on a plan before it is finalized. Public participation in the development of land management plans can be voluntary or mandatory. The aim is to engage citizens on a regular basis and provide them with the necessary information. If possible, use informal methods to obtain feedback. 

In developing land management plans, the Secretary of Agriculture shall seek to include public participation in decision-making. This includes making the plans available in accessible locations and conducting public meetings, if applicable. 

Review of land management plans by cooperating agencies 

Land management plans are required by federal agencies with land management responsibilities. These plans may be for national parks, Bureau of Land Management planning areas, military installations, or national forests. Their purpose is to carry out statutory requirements, manage the resources under their care, and achieve the agency’s mission. 

To be effective, the review process must involve cooperation and coordination between cooperating agencies. Each agency must accept the final decision-making authority of the lead agency, develop information on alternatives, and meet the timelines and milestones set forth by the lead agency. In addition, the cooperating agency should be provided with the required resources for the scoping, analysis, and documentation. 

Secretary of the Interior’s approval of land management plans 

The Wilderness Act sets forth various provisions for the administration of wilderness areas, including provisions for the management of livestock, access to private property, wildfire management, and fish and wildlife. In addition, the Act bans entry and disposition of minerals and fossil fuels within wilderness areas. The Secretary of the Interior must approve land management plans to ensure that they meet the law’s requirements. 

The Department of the Interior manages over 530 million acres of public lands, their associated waterways, and plant and animal species. The goal is to ensure that lands are managed sustainably while promoting responsible use and providing a public benefit. In addition, the Department works to maintain and improve stream and shoreline miles, which benefit fish and wildlife populations and contribute to a balanced ecology.