Washington, D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva’s legislation, a bill to create the nation’s newest public lands system, the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), was re-introduced today. The National Landscape Conservation System Act, would codify the National Landscape Conservation System within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The bill already has 23 original co-sponsors.
“I am proud to have sponsored this very important piece of legislation, and to have the support of many other members of the new 111th Congress,” said Grijalva. “The National Landscape Conservation System protects our shared natural and historical heritage. This Congressional authorization will generate awareness for these public lands, while leaving intact any existing management of the lands on the ground.”
The NLCS was established administratively in 2000 by then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to recognize and protect the best of the lands and waters managed by the BLM, but the system has never been officially sanctioned by Congress. The purpose of the bill is to provide the permanence and stature that accompany formal Congressional authorization. The legislation also unifies separate units into a coherent System and will allow for efficient management of the 10 percent of BLM’s lands designated for conservation purposes by Congress and the President.
The 26 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System is comprised of more than 800 units, including 15 National Monuments, 13 National Conservation Areas, Steens Mountain Cooperative Management Protection Area in Oregon, Headwaters Forest Reserve in northern California, 36 Wild and Scenic Rivers, 148 Wilderness Areas, 4,264 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails, and more than 600 Wilderness Study Areas.
The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110th Congress, but failed to pass the Senate.
In Arizona, the areas included in the NLCS are:
•Agua Fria National Monument
•Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
•Ironwood Forest National Monument
•Sonoran Desert National Monument
•Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
•Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
•Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
•San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
•Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
•47 Wilderness Areas
•2 Wilderness Study Areas