Give-and-take (n): 1. mutual concessions, shared benefits, and cooperation; 2. a smoothly flowing exchange of ideas and talk.

Ah… compromise.  The give-and-take from separate sides of every discussion, issue, or concern is what allows us as an agency (the BLM) to move towards a solution, regardless of how fluid the end-game may be.  At the BLM, it is our role to manage the lands and natural resources, so current generations may enjoy what is available to us, without depriving future generations of these resources, benefits, and natural landscapes.

The balance isn’t always easy to reach, especially when working with T&E species and their respective habitat(s).  I’ve been involved in discussions and meetings pertaining to more proactive management and pre-development mitigation on behalf of project proponents in an attempt to enhance the survival and habitats of these species on the front end, rather than attempting to correct what has been done after the fact through (at times lengthy and expensive) restoration and reclamation.   These efforts can sometimes be done through off-site and off-set mitigation depending on habitat type and quality as well as easements to protect other valuable areas.

These type of efforts are also being exercised in partnership with the USFWS in the development of conservation agreements called Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA) which allow private land owners to enroll in agreements that provide them with protections if a candidate species is listed as threatened or endangered by the USFWS, that no further stipulations will be put in place as long as they agree to conservation measures prior to the listing decision to ‘enhance the survival’ of the species in question.  These are being developed in states across the west with varied participation.

I’ve had the benefit of participating in discussions for these mitigations,  CCAAs, and CCAs, as well as reviewing proposals that indicate stipulations related to these plans.  There is an attempt to be consistent to some degree, which can be difficult given the varying factors across the state of Wyoming as well as the species and their needs across the same areas.

This type of land management is a ‘give-and-take’ method to multi-use lands.  Like other types of restoration, reclamation, and mitigation used in the past, only time will tell and judge the success of these efforts…  but the cooperation between agency and industry, between public and private, will continue to strive towards the optimal balance and benefit all parties involved.

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