Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
Congress mandated the designation of ACECs through the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. These areas are places where special management attention is needed to protect and prevent irreparable damage to important historic, cultural and scenic values; fish, wildlife resources or other natural systems or processes; or to protect human life and safety from natural hazards.

Nominations for ACECs must stand the test for relevance and importance before they are evaluated for ACEC designation. An area meets the criteria if it contains one or more of the following:

-A significant historic, cultural, or scenic value (including but not limited to rare or sensitive archeological resources and religious or cultural resources important to native Americans).

-A fish and wildlife resource (including but not limited to habitat for endangered, sensitive, or threatened species, or habitat essential for maintaining species diversity).

-A natural process or system (including but not limited to endangered, sensitive, or threatened plant species; rare, endemic, or relic plants or plant communities which are terrestrial, aquatic, or riparian; or rare geological features).

-Natural hazards (including but not limited to areas of avalanche, dangerous flooding, landslides, unstable soils, seismic activity, or dangerous cliffs). A hazard caused by human action may meet the relevance criteria if it is determined through the RMP process that it has become part of a natural process.

BLM establishes special management measures for these areas through land use planning.

Learn more about ACECs and the BLM’s planning process:
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