The Bureau of Land Management announced its efforts today to begin a public process to revise the 32-year-old management plan governing the agency’s oversight of public lands in North Dakota. When completed, the revised Resource Management Plan will provide updated goals, objectives, and management direction for approximately 58,900 acres of BLM-managed surface lands and approximately 4.6 million acres of administered sub-surface mineral rights across the state.

The RMP will replace the existing North Dakota RMP, dated April 1988, as amended. As part of this process, the BLM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement analyzing various management options for the planning area.

“Development of the new North Dakota RMP will be a collaborative, community-based effort encompassing a wide range of public participation. We plan to give the public and stakeholders multiple opportunities to weigh in on the plan’s development and will report back to the people of North Dakota how public involvement has been solicited, considered, and incorporated into the RMP and EIS,” said BLM Montana/Dakotas State Director John Melhoff.

Significant changes have taken place over the last 32 years affecting the use and users of public lands across North Dakota. In that time, issues have emerged relating to potential threatened and endangered species, special status wildlife and habitat, and the significant amount of oil and gas exploration and development throughout the planning area. Specifically, in the past decade the Bakken oil boom has dramatically changed the landscape in North Dakota, especially in the southwestern part of the state.

In addition, many of the land use plan decisions required by specific program and resource guidance are not adequately addressed in the current RMP. This new planning effort will allow the BLM to guide management actions based on current information as well as to reflect current public input and changes in policy, resource conditions, and development trends.

The BLM 30-day comment period will end Aug. 28.

Comments sent by mail must be postmarked by this date to be considered. More information, relevant documents, and a venue for submitting comments are available at https://eplanning.blm.gov. Search for: North Dakota Resource Management Plan.

Hard copy comments can be mailed or hand-delivered to the North Dakota Field Office, Attn: North Dakota RMP, 99 23rd Ave. West, Suite A Dickinson, ND 58601.

The BLM will host three public scoping meetings from August 10-12 to further identify planning issues and criteria. Public meetings may be subject to sudden changes --from in-person to virtual meetings-- due to COVID-19 precautions. For the most current information, please refer to the project's BLM e-Planning website.

August 18: Bowman Lodge and Convention Center at 502 Hwy 12 in Bowman, 4 to 7 p.m. MST.

August 19: West River Ice Center at 1865 Empire Road in Dickinson, 4 to 7 p.m. MST.

August 20: Moderated live question and answer video teleconference session, 4 to 6 p.m. MST. Attendees may join via computer or phone to participate. Information on how to attend will be available on the BLM e-Planning website.

Public comments are most useful when they are specific and cite relevant issues. Before including address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information, be aware that your entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. The BLM will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the Draft EIS.

For more information, contact RMP Project Manager Kristine Braun at: 701-227-7725.