The 2012 greatest achievements in conservation for millions of acres of western lands were acknowledged in a top ten list released with The Wilderness Society’s annual review and CAPE awards. The Comparative Analysis of Particular Excellence (CAPE) rating system recognizes the greatest Bureau of Land Management leadership actions and decisions over the past year for our shared public lands. This year’s list runs the gamut from a revolutionary approach to solar energy development on our public lands, to wildland protections in the Arctic Reserve, to new and improved management frameworks for our Conservation Lands.
“Managing millions of acres across the nation for their various uses is no easy task,” said Nada Culver, Senior Director of Agency Policy at The Wilderness Society. “With good public participation, smart agency decisions and the will to see things to fruition, we continue to see valuable conservation measures being enacted by the BLM year after year. 2012 was no different and our CAPE awards recognize efforts that will have lasting impacts for generations to come.”
The 2012 CAPEs rated ten leading agency efforts on a scale of one to five, with five “CAPEs” noting the highest recognition. This year’s acknowledgements include:
- Western Solar Plan Sets in Place Blueprint for Conservation and Responsible Development (5 CAPEs)
- BLM California National Conservation Lands 5-Year Strategy (4 CAPEs)
- BLM Balances Wildlife Protection and Energy Production in the Western Arctic Reserve (4 CAPEs)
- Gunnison Sage Grouse Candidate Conservation Agreement sets model for Collaborative Planning (4 CAPEs)
- New Management Guidance for the National Conservation Lands (3 CAPEs)
- Taos Resource Management Plan Embraces Conservation Designations (3 CAPEs)
- Fort Ord National Monument Designated (3 CAPEs)
- Uncompahgre Field Office Leads the Way on Sharing Wilderness Inventory Findings with the Public (2 CAPEs)
- Rio Puerco Draft Plan Prioritizes Wilderness Experiences (2 CAPEs)
- BLM Improves Approach to Oil Shale Development (1 CAPE)
“The returning administration has the opportunity in 2013 to solidify its policies for balanced land management, such as wilderness inventory and protection and reformed oil and gas leasing, and ensure these important policies endure over the long term, leading to meaningful protections for our western landscapes,” said Culver. “There is much work to be done this year to build off the positive momentum of the past, and once again we have high hopes for the conservation of our wildest public lands, the continuation of a balanced approach to energy development and the sound stewardship of our National Conservation Lands.”
The Wilderness Society’s BLM Action Center also released the 2013 Wish List in conjunction with the CAPE awards. The Wish List includes top conservation priorities for the upcoming year as identified by the center and conservationists across the West.