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Last Updated:
05/03/2018 16:48:38 MDT
Earlier this year, The Missoula BLM shared the first release of the resource management plan preliminary alternatives. Several documents, including handouts, maps, and the Wild and Scenic River Suitability Report were shared with the public through this website and at the three open houses throughout the planning area. After receiving feedback from a number of individuals, organizations, and fellow agencies, we have taken this opportunity to update some key components of the preliminary alternatives before commencing the next stage of the planning process.

Currently, the planning team is fully involved in the development of the draft environmental impact statement, which formally analyzes the three proposed alternatives. This effort is anticipated to be released for public review in early summer. A 90-day public comment period will accompany the DEIS. Significant changes to the preliminary alternatives include:
  • Updated geospatial data. The planning team is constantly working to improve the accuracy of the geospatial data we use in our analysis. Since January, further analysis has revealed errors in the data used to develop the alternatives. We have updated the resource handouts to include any changes to the data presented.

    Summary comparison of alternatives. In response to many requests for a single document to compare alternatives across all resources and uses, we have updated the Preliminary Alternatives Overview Handout with a table created to easily compare how the proposed allocations vary across the three alternatives.

    Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) Report. The ACEC report, which evaluates existing and newly proposed areas for ACEC designation, is now published on our website. This is a preliminary report, ACECs will formally be analyzed in the DEIS, where the public may comment on the findings. This report also includes a change regarding the Limestone Cliffs ACEC. In January, the area was propsed for ACEC designation across all alternatives, but is now recommended for ACEC designation in Alternatives A and C only. Alternative B includes this area into a 50-acre SRMA.

    Wales Creek locatable mineral withdrawal. The Wales Creek watershed is host to a remarkably intact aquatic habitat, geothermal features, and contains one of the strongest populations of the western pearlshell mussel. To provide appropriate management direction for this species, in January, the BLM proposed the majority of this watershed as an ACEC. That proposition remains, but adds the provision for a 4,850-acre locatable mineral withdrawal under Alternative C, only if Congress releases the Wales Creek WSA from designation.

    New streamlined planning timeline. In response to Department of Interior and BLM guidance, we have accelerated our planning timeline to complete the RMP revision by the spring of 2019. The following describes the major remaining planning milestones:

    • Draft Plan/EIS (summer 2018). Publication of the draft RMP and EIS initiates the formal 90-day comment period required during all EIS-level planning efforts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Members of the public, agencies, and Tribes are invited to provide comments on detailed alternatives and effects analysis.
      Final Plan/EIS (winter 2019). The 30-day protest period begins upon release of the final RMP and EIS.  Protest procedures will be initiated in accordance with the BLM’s proposed planning rule (currently in draft). A 60-day Governor’s consistency review will occur during this time period. Final revisions will be made based on the feedback received from these two processes. 
      Record of Decision (spring 2019). The record of decision is expected to be published in the spring of 2019.
The updated handouts, maps, and reports, which reflect these changes, are located in the "Documents & Reports" and "Maps" sections of this website.

Questions and feedback on the preliminary alternatives are welcomed at any time throughout the planning process. The development of the DEIS is a significant workload for the planning team, therefore, early feedback is greatly appreciated.

For more information about the RMP revision or preliminary alternatives, contact Maggie Ward, the Missoula RMP Project Leader at (406) 329-3914, or email blm_mt_missoularmp@blm.gov.


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Missoula Field Office is revising its 31-year-old resource management plan (RMP) for the Missoula planning area. This document will guide land management actions on approximately 162,000 acres of public lands and 200,000 acres of federal mineral interests within nine counties of western Montana. 

The RMP will be supported by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis in an environmental impact statement (EIS). Specifically, the BLM will analyze the effects of proposed management decisions under one EIS. Currently, the Field Office is operating under the Garnet Resource Area RMP approved in 1986, as amended.

The RMP will focus on BLM-managed surface lands in Missoula, Granite, and Powell counties with additional sub-surface mineral estate in Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Ravalli, and Sanders counties.  About 99% of the BLM-surface managed lands are within Missoula, Granite and Powell counties.  See the maps section of this website for an overview of the planning area.