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9 Conclusions and Recommendations The Committee on Scientific and Technical Criteria for Federal Acquisi- tion of Lands for Conservation was asked to (~) review Me criteria and procedures by which the four major federal land management agencies acquire public lands for conservation purposes; (2) assess the historic, public policy, and scientific bases for the agencies' land-acquisition criteria; (3) compare them with those of nongovernmental land conserva- tion groups; (4) assess the effectiveness of the federal: land-acquisition programs; and (5) evaluate the extent to which the agencies have objec- tive methods for ranking potential acquisitions. The four land management agencies-the National Park Service (NPS), the Fish and Wildlife Service (IJSFWS), the Bureau of Land Management ALMS, and the Forest Service (USES)-have wide-ranging missions and mandates. Land acquisition is a too! available to each of Hem but is not the major mission of any of ~em. Except for BEM, whose authority for acquiring lands is relatively new, each agency has its own ranking system for land acquisition. Superimposed on, and developed from, Me agencies' rating systems is an interagency system for setting acquisition priorities used by Me Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for preparing Me land-acquisition portion of the presi- dent's annual budget. The committee found Mat the various approaches used by each agency to rate potential land acquisitions generally are based on systematic criteria that reflect Me agencies' basic missions. The missions ~em- seives, however, are complex, reflecting sometimes conflicting or con 1 197
198 SElTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION fusing goals and a long history of federal public land policies. The committee compared the agencies' criteria with Hose used by nongov- ernmental land-conservation groups and found that the private groups typically have straightforward land-acquisition goals and programs. The committee believes that the agencies can benefit from review and under- staIlding of the nongovernmental groups' programs, but Me nongovern- mental criteria are not directly transferable to the federal land-acquisition programs. Criteria for federal land-acquisition programs must change from time to time to keep pace with evolving agency missions. For example, the rationale for the Land and Water Conservation Fund ~WCF), the main source of appropriations for federal land acquisitions, has changed since it was established In 1964. Its focus has evolved over time to include acquiring land for various conservation purposes. Even We meaning of conservation has evolved over the years, with changes in scientific un- derstanding and increasing pressures on the nation's land base. Wig these changes have come revised understanding of the meaning of acquisition and of the forces that affect its usefulness as a conserva- tion tool. The separation of wholly private and wholly public lands has become less distinct with increasing reliance since the 1960s on regula- tions and less-than-fee acquisitions to accomplish public objectives. The committee believes Mat such reliance will increase in the future, because land is limited, and meeting a range of public and private goals simulta- neously is becoming increasingly difficult. Understanding of conservation needs is expanding as scientific knowl- edge grows. Conservation programs are coming to grips with the recog- nition of the importance of maintaining biological diversity, Me potential for changes in global climate, the value of working landscape approach- es to regional protection, and over environmental variables. Sustaining natural conditions over some significant landscapes is one approach to preserving biological diversity. In view of existing landscape patterns and land uses, a mix of land-acquisition techniques, such as conservation easements and less-than-fee purchases, will need to be used creatively and cooperatively across agency lines and wig nonfederal governments and private landowners. The committee believes that the conservation objectives of Me federal government can best be met by continuing the commitment of Me land- management agencies and OMB to a rational planning approach for
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 199 setting land-acquisition priorities That means defining current federal lands in relation to conservation needs, Staining what additional farads or ownership in land would contribute to these needs, and estab- lishing priorities so Hat land-acquisition appropriations are allocated efficiently. At Be same time, Be existing process can be improved. The recommendations Mat follow are intended to improve Be current system for setting land-acquisition priorities and Be use of various means of acquiring ownership in conservation lands. GOALS Structuring OMB and Agency Criteria OMB, UPS, Bow, USES, and USES should separate the current national ranking system for finding acquisition priorities into at least three categories: outdoor recreation resources, natural re- sources protection, and cultural heritage protection the three major purposes offederal law] acquisition. Other categories might be needed, especially where Congress has designated portions of the federal lands to protect specific kinds of resources, such as wilderness areas, we and scenic rivers, and historic and archeo- logical sites. Each agency should develop individual criteria to rank its own acquisi- tionis, because no single set of criteria will work to satisfy fully the different agency missions. The OM]3 method for setting federal acquisi- tion priorities among the priorities of individual agencies forces nonaddi- tive criteria into a single composite ranking. Ibis skews results in favor of potential land acquisitions that meet some of each purpose and against acquisitions that would best meet specific purposes. The current ap- proach also emphasizes certain considerations at the expense of others and diminishes the agencies' ability to fulfill their legislative charges. Outdoor recreation and wildlife protection on Be same tract of land can be incompatible. Yet, the OMB criteria award points for each in a single ranking system for federal land acquisitions. For example' public recreation is assigned as many as 80 points in setting priorities, while protecting endangered and Greatened species is assigned a maximum of
200 SElTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION 40 points. This favors acquisition of areas that can expect high recre- ation use as well as have endangered or threatened species. The present ranking system applies Me same criteria nationwide and across all agen- cies, despite variance in regional needs and agency missions. A system that ranks the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg against the mission blue butterfly does not have the flexibility to serve all the purposes encompassed by the agencies responsible for land acquisition. Some latitude is possible with the current composite criteria if the assistant secretaries use their discretionary points (~50 points for the highest priority tract) to shift the balance in favor of an acquisition when this is needed to ensure that a specific goal is met. But as long as a single set of criteria is used to meet all acquisition purposes, Me system is flawed. The federal agencies, with their varied missions, need more than a single set of criteria. One approach would be parallel ranking systems for each major pur- pose, leaving Congress to decide on Me total amount of appropriations to allocate to each purpose. Alternatively, Congress could establish dedicated funds for each major federal acquisition purpose. If Me agen- cies ranked Heir requests by major purpose, secondary purposes could be recognized and given some weight, but each acquisition would be counted toward the main purpose. The report of the President's Com- mission on Americans Outdoors makes note of similar dedicated funds: the Wallop-Breaux amendments to aid sport fishing and recreation on federal lands, the Reclamation Act to support irrigation projects, He Highway Trust Fund, and He Historic Preservation Fund. Although this approach might establish a rationale for a ranking scheme, the committee cautions that bases for dedicated Finds quickly become outdated. The agencies' missions in relation to land acquisition need to be made explicit to help clarify the various criteria. Broad categories of shared agency goals, such as those used in the OMB criteria, hide some impor- tant distinctions. All four agencies provide outdoor recreation opportu- n~ties, but some of those provided by USES and BEM are not provided by NPS or He USFWS. For example, alI-terrain vehicles and motorized trail bikes, as well as hunting, are permitted on large parts of the nation- al forests and BEM lands, but usually not in He national parks. The same sort of distinction applies to wetlands should USFWS acquisition of prairie potholes to support migratory waterfowl be afforded He same priority as BEM acquisition in a wild and scenic river corridor to meet ecosystem management objectives?
CONCLUS70NS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 201 Recreational and biological conservation goals can be separated while recognizing Tat conservation of biotic resources fosters outdoor recre- ation opportunities. But He two goals are incompatible in some cases and complementary, or at least nonconflicting, in others. The current OMB criteria imply dial Key always are complementary. Acquisition Strategies and Techniques Agencies should use the widest possible range of land-protection strategies in formulating acquisition proposals, from public owner- ship to land-use regulation, alternatives to fee-simple land acquisi- tion, exchanges, pubZic-private and interagency arrangements, partnerships, cross-boundary planning, and other techniques. The federal land base is not used to the fullest extent possible in meeting goals for which land acquisition is a tool because of a lack of interagen- cy planning, multiple missions and mandates, and agency behavior Mat assigns low priority to some missions. NPS, BEM, USES, and USFWS focus on the lands for which they are directly responsible and historically have emphasized some parts of their missions at the expense of others. As a result, opportunities for meeting broad recreation and resource conservation goals with the cur- rent mix of federal, state, and private lands often are overlooked, and expansion of the federal land base is seen as Be only solution. For example, meeting landscape-level habitat needs of wide-ranging wildlife species requires attention from all four of the federal agencies. It also requires consideration of arrangements over than fee-simple land acqui- sition to connect habitat on lands of different agencies. Over time, strengthening the incentives for partnerships and other public-private options as complements to fee-simple acquisition will require direction from agency leaders and support from Congress. Another technique worm agency experimentation is reservation of con- servation interests and reversionary policies in property dispositions, such as was done wig the reservation of mineral rights in Be late nine- teenth and early twenties centuries. Conditions of this sort appear in property dispositions ranging from Be railroad land grants to the Rykers Act that au~or~zed the flooding of the Hetch-Hetchy Valley in Yosemi- te. Obviously, property not disposed of need not be repurchased.
202 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION The majority of federal land acquisitions today are in-fee purchases. However, like interest retention, less-~an-fee acquisition techniques sometimes allow limited dollars to be stretched to fulfill} acquisition goals. The committee is aware that use of these techniques by the agen- cies has not always been successful and Hat practical limitations are associated with less-than-fee acquisitions. Although the committee does not believe Hat bungee acquisition should be abandoned in favor of less- than-fee alternatives in all cases, it also does not believe that historical limitations of less-~an-fee techniques should be accepted as an inescap- able policy constraint. Vaguely worded less-~an-fee agreements could be rewritten win specificity, and agreements too short in duration could be extended into the future. Unenforceable agreements could be made enforceable by including monetary penalties, using loss-of-property reversions for violations, or using third-party enforcement techniques. Most contemporary federal environmental laws invite ~ird-p arty en- forcement Trough He mechanism of citizen suits. A similar technique might prove useful in the context of conservation easements. Nongovern- mental organizations often are important in arranging public-private cooperation. And nonprofit organizations might be able to negotiate contractual arrangements for monitoring and training. Congress and the executive branch should consider measures to re- move some of He barriers to the more widespread use of land exchange. Those measures might include, for example · Completion by USES and BEM of final regulations for implementa- tion of He Federal Land Exchange Facilitation Act (43 U.S.C. 1716~; · Development of regulations and procedures to facilitate and encour- age three-party exchanges among nonfederal landowners and more Han one federal agency; · Improvement in the ability of federal agencies to accomplish ex- changes Hat cross state lines; · Strengthening of He training and development of land-exchange specialists within He federal agencies and assignment of He most experi- enced individuals to He agencies' top-priority larld-exchange projects; · Examination of ways to supplement local government or school district revenues on a one-time basis when Here is a change in federal landownership; · Recommendations from USES and BEM for ways in which the
CONCLUSIONS RECOMMENDATIONS 203 cumbersome and time-consuming exchange process could be stream- 1~ned. Landscape and Ecosystem Protection Larul-acquisition criteria should be expanded to include landscape pattern analysis, which typically includes land-use and land-cover data and measures certain factors, such as patch characteristics, vegetation types, ecological trends, and hydrologic awl socioeco- nomic interactions with the resources. Land uses in an entire watershed should be considered in the design of reserves. Traditional acquisition practice evacuates individual parcels without considering regional attributes, including biogeographical and landscape patterns. A complementary approach is needed among the four agen- cies, as is cooperation to protect ecosystems and habitats that transcend agency jurisdictional boundaries. Comparative evaluations of parcels are distorted if they miss the regional contexts and the ecological dynamics to which the properties are subject. Usually, acquisitions that provide corridors, connections, and linkages between similar landscapes and habitats are enhanced in biologi- cal value. In the same way that a strategically situated piece of property can provide access to public lands for human users, habitats in proper configurations can facilitate the persistence, movement, and dispersal of native biota. In addition, individual tracts of protected land can be affected by external factors; for example, agricultural runoff from lands outside the refuge resulted ~ poisoned waterfowl on the Kesterson Wildlife Refuge. And if global climate change does occur, it might accelerate migration of certain species. Future public land acquisitions must be sensitive to the dynamics of landscape patterns and uses. One approach for interagency cooperation might be to develop criteria for land uses in an entire watershed. Such criteria would identify the sustainability of regional land uses and identify tradeoffs between meet- ing current needs and maintaining options for the future. An important consideration for land acquisition is the extent to which a particular acquisition contributes to maintaining those options. Consideration of
204 SEl-llNG PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION land uses throughout a watershed is critical for management of any aquatic resources, such as wild and scenic rivers and endangered fish stocks. Representative Natural Areas UPS, BUM, USES, and USERS should prepare an overall strategic plan that identifies laM-acquisinon needs for establishing and protecting representative natural areas on federal lands that can provide scientific baselines for judging the effects of human actions on the natural environment. The federal land-acquisition process does not adequately address the need for protecting natural areas as scientifically credible baselines to measure the effects human use has on resources. Of the four land-man- agement agencies, USES has been the leader in developing a scientif~cal- ly credible system; it has established a system of more than 250 natural research areas in the national forests. That system is about 60% com- plete. A fills system of research areas should include ecosystems that are best represented by federally owned areas on lands managed by Me over three agencies, as well as some areas not in federal ownership. Standards for determining what areas are in He system and how Hey should be protected should be consistent among agencies. An interagen- cy committee, parallel to one in He late 1970s, could help to establish consistent guidelines and provide a useful mechanism for agreeing on areas to be included as research natural areas. The system should represent ecosystems as completely as possible. Land acquisition needed for such a system of research areas probably is modest relative to over programs. PROCEDURES Planning and Acquisition The agencies should develop arui use ~ong-term An-acquisition plans that can be used to identify priorities awl opportunities for interagency cooperative efforts. 1
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 205 The agencies should take into account regional conservation needs as well as social effects of acquisitions on focal landowners and communi- ties arid provide a mechanism for public participation. The multiyear perspective of such plans would enable Congress to judge how well the agencies fulfill their missions and facilitate effective evaluation of He cumulative effects of land acquisition. Overall vision and long-term planning Mat consider cumulative as well as social effects are needed for Be acquisition of federal land. That would allow a variety of public-policy and scientific objectives to be considered (e.g., economic benefits and costs to communities, provision of corridors, protection of watersheds, and consideration of other avail- able recreational opportunities in the area). Social impact analysis (SIA) is an essential too} in successful land-use planning and should be con- ducted to identify problems in advance and compare alternatives, provide a mechanism for public participation, record public needs and site-spe- cific interests, provide baseline measurements for future comparison, identify poorly understood cumulative effects, review spatially and tem- porally remote interests, and identify possibilities for mitigation. Federal acquisitions can have large effects, positive and negative, on local residents and communities. Some of Be negative effects are lost tax revenues, disrupted traditional community patterns and dislocated human activities. Positive effects include increased revenues from tour- ism, more recreational opportunities, increased adjacent property values, and protection of the renewable resource base. Although the creation of a national park and protection of natural resources should not be contin- gent on creating or preserving employment, STA can be used to identify the distribution of costs and benefits to minimize the costs and provide the public with clear and reliable information regarding the implications of public land policy. A comprehensive checklist of social effects could be developed to determine the social significance of individual acquisi tions. The conservation objectives of many acquisitions often are compatible with a variety of activities of Be resident population. In many cases, co-management between federal authorities and the resident population is a realistic goal; the local residents often have the most to gain by extending and protecting the renewable resource base. STA also can reduce costs by identifying problems and comparing alternatives in advance. The OMB criteria and Be agency submittals provide an annual agenda
206 SETTING PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION for acquisition, but they appear to start from a set of criteria that are only pardy related to agency missions. In the effort to get common criteria across agency lines, much of the sense of individual agency missions is lost. Furthermore, a multiyear perspective seems to be lacking, as are signs of a systematic overview of acquisition needs other than at the field level. The OMB criteria assign no special weight to congressionally desig- nated areas, such as wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, and nation- al trails. But agency land-use plans often emphasize congressionally designated areas. Agency land-use plans vary widely; some have crite- ria for land acquisition that appear nowhere in the national criteria, which implies that information from the field is not used at the national level. Improving Information for Decision Making The federal lar~-acquisinorz program for conservation should have a solid information base as part of a systematic approach to achieving its goals. That information base should enable the land-management agencies and Congress to determine the extent to which conservation needs are being met and to identify gaps in meeting Pose needs. Gap analysis entails examining the distribution of key elements of biological diversity relative to areas now under some type of protective ownership. A geographic information system (GIS) consists of He com- puter hardware and software for manipulating spatially distributed data. GIS is an especially powerful too! for planning and acquisition of con- servation lands and can be applied in Me shady of environmental pro- cesses, analysis of trends, and predictions of the results of planning decisions. The methodologies of gap analysis and GIS are widely used today in resource planning decisions. They need to be applied to setting priorities for federal land acquisition. Information should be assembled for NPS, BEM, USES, and USFWS in a common GAS. The agencies should continue to refine and expand their applications of gap analysis and GAS. Data gathering should be improved, extended, and directed wig a view toward applications in gap analysis and GIS.
- . CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 207 Information needed to determine priorities for land acquisition such as maps of landownership, land use, critical habitats for wildlife and endan- gered species, natural areas, water availability, and vegetation is scat- tered among several federal and local agencies and is not in a form that is readily accessible to decision makers. A long-term view of acquisi- tion hinges on an inventory of current landholdings defined in relation to major management objectives and on the identification of areas that should be acquired in fee or in part. Additional data Mat are incorporat- ~ with increasing frequency in GISs include social science information, such as human population change and over census data. The agencies do have inventories of current landholdings, often as part of their land-use plans. For example, typical USES land-use pearls show allocation of national forest lands to various major land-use catego- ries, the agency's ownership in relation to other owners, and lands to be acquired and lands to be exchanged or overwise disposed of. But they usually lack an interagency and regional view of land-acquisition needs and an objective view of what could be accomplished with less-than-fee acquisitions and interagency land uses. Descriptions in land-use plans of what could be accomplished Trough acquisitions, for example, of wild- life corridors that would connect units managed by different agencies, including state agencies, would be helpful. A four-agency information base for a conservation land-acquisition program should be drawn from existing information bases, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, state natural history surveys, state GAS programs, and Me NPS biosphere reserve program. Such an information base could be similar to one proposed by Me Conservation Foundation (1985), which suggested a three-part program for setting priorities for new national parks: · First is a register, or nationwide list of natural and cultural resourc- es, of Sites wormy of special management." That register would not set priorities, but would identify the universe of resources worthy of consideration. · Second, a set of thematic inventories should be undertaken, comb- ing Me register for sites relevant to a particular opportunity or concern. For example, an inventory might be done of sites important to floral biological diversity, sites Greatened by climate change, or corridors connecting species populations amid fragmented landscapes.
208 SE'-llNG PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION · Third, Congress should receive periodic reports evaluating acquisi- tion opportunities. Such a report, updated every 2 or 3 years, would include a statement of the federal backlog, a summary of recent purchas- es, an estimate of backlog costs, and an analysis of the land market. Inventories identifying private lands that might be subject to full-fee or partial acquisition by the federal government are a sensitive issue. The committee notes, however, that problems posed by such inventories appear to have been addressed In agency land-use plans that identify specific areas of private lands as desirable for federal acquisition. If a systematic approach to setting priorities for federal conservation land acquisition is to be accomplished, it is clear that some private lands must be identified and information collected on their suitability for meeting specific needs. The committee believes that the experience of agencies identifying such lands in land-use plans can be used to guide collection of information necessary for useful inventories for further land acquisi- tion without interfering with the privacy of landowners. The major advances for identifying gaps in protected lands and the quality of public and private lands deserve to be recognized. Those new methodologies, however, are heavily dependent on Me adequacy of existing data and maps for such basic questions as ownership, invento- ries, population trends, distribution of species, and so on. The need for information systems to support land- and resource-management decisions is not con~ned to the federal program. State-agency data bases are notoriously incomplete, scattered, Incompatible, arid inaccessible. Funding For long-term planning and consistent adherence to a set of crite- ria the [WCF needs adequate and predictable funding. Funding for We LWCF has fluctuated dramatically; for example, appro- priations in 1978 were approximately $800 million; in 1982, less clan $200 million; and in 1991, approximately $375 million. Appropriations to the states have been variable as well, but generally have been much less than the maximum of 60% allowed by the tWCF Act; in 1982, the states received only 2% of the total appropriations. Such variation makes planning for land acquisition difficult. National planning should
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 209 be attentive to local planning. National criteria should be tied to criteria used in local land-use plans and should give weight to congressionally designated areas. Funding must take account of those factors. Emergency Acquisitions Congress should consider mechanisms, such as providing discre- ~zona~y tWCF funding for dealing with emergencies and une~cpect- ed opportunities. Discretionary funding would allow the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to take advantage of unexpected opportunities or respond to unwelcome threats to resources. During the several years normally consumed by the process of identi- fying lands for acquisition, planning, and Study, conditions can change; e.g., prices often rise and qualities fall. In addition, sudden events (such as development threats and purchase opportunities) are common in tile course of land acquisition. Parcels that were unavailable might become available because of Tic delinquency, foreclosure, or dead. Parcels might come under imminent Great of development when He tared is sold. In cases such as Lose, the lack of discretionary funding can mean Cat an agency is unable to acquire Be property. The tension between carefully considered and opportunistic actions is a stumbling block in Me development of comprehensive acquisition criteria. The rise of nonprofit organizations and Me active role Con- gress takes is evidence of ~at. The objections to emergency acquisi- tions, such as unaccountable and ad hoc actions, can be met by requiring stringent after-the-fact explanation and accounting. Monitoring Acquisitions and Re evaluating Criteria Acquisitions should be monitored periodically to determine if the purposes for acquisition have been realized!. Criteria also should be periodically re-evaluated in light of changes in holdings, climate and biological resources, demographics, scientific knowledge, and policy and political values.
210 SE1771NG PRIORITIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION Acquisitions new to be monitored to assess Weir effectiveness in achiev- ing goals within the context of agency missions. In a sense, USES and BEM already do this in weir periodic revisions of land-use plans; land- use plans are reviewed and revised every 10 to 15 years. Criteria for acquisitions should be reviewed in light of we agencies' changing mis- SiOIlS. State and Local Issues Precise criteria should be developed to meet national outdoor recreation and conservation needs irz setting federal land-acquisi- tion priorities. UPS, BUM, USES, and USERS should consider the needs and resources of state, local government, and Indian tribal lands in federal land-use plans, as wed as the role of state and local governments in providing outdoor recreation, especially as these are defined in statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plans. The potential role for state and local government lands in providing outdoor recreation is given too little attention in sewing priorities for federal land acquisition. The conservation needs of Indian tribes have not been addressed by federal or state programs. In passing We EWCF Act, Congress assigned an important role to state and local governments in providing opportunities for public outdoor recreation. As much as 60% of we annual appropriations can be grant- ed to the states for land acquisition and development of recreation areas In recent years, a much lower proportion usually has gone to the states in part because administration budgets have not asked for more. The committee found Mat NPS, BLM, USES, and USFWS acquisition programs pay little attention to nonfederal outdoor recreation oppormni- ties on over lands. One result is Mat recreation is emphasized in feder- al land-acquisition priorities even in areas where such opportunities might be provided on state and local lands. This skews the federal land- acquisition priorities against over reasons for acquisition, such as pro- tection of wildlife and endangered species. Full funding of the state grant portion of the EWCF appropriations would relieve the pressure on federal agencies to provide recreation
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 211 opportunities to meet local needs. Yet more is required Man a simple expansion of entitlements. The program should be merit- and goal- driven. Development of a clear set of recreation guidelines to meet national recreation needs would focus federal land acquisitions on high- priority national needs. Incentives for Private Landowners Because conservation land needs cannot be satisfied through public land-acquisinon programs alone, efforts should be made to develop partnerships Art other mechanisms of cooperation with private landowners to achieve goals that have been realized to date pri- marily through acquisition. Even the largest nature reserves, if left alone, probably will suffer major distaffs of species in a few hundred or a few thousand years. Size demands are greater if the reserve is located in a disturbance-prone environment or if it is intended to accommodate migrations of protected species. By any measure, future conservation needs of the nation will ou~cpace any efforts by federal land buyers to satisfy those needs with traditional acquisition practices. NPS, BEM, USES, and USFWS have recorded impressive backlogs of properties that satisfy acquisition criteria but await funding; current acquisition practice makes only small dents in the formal specifications of acquisition needs. On top of this, Me under- s~zed nature of many biological preserves and the space essential for effective wildlife conservation underscore the futility of relying on sim- ply spending more federal dollars to create habitats of sufficient size. The recommendation above is a natural outgrowth of the recognition that any successful campaign to protect biological diversity cannot be constrained by traditional demarcations between public and private prop- erties. Historically, land managers respond to incentives. Less-~an-fee acquisitions are one useful technique for extending habitat protection, and the committee cannot say what other forms of incentives might be useful. But a nation that has paid farmers not to grow pigs may yet find the will to pay them to grow owls, eagles, or hedgerows.
212 SE7-llNG PRIORIES FOR LAND CONSERVATION Acquisition Intermediaries NPS, BUM, USES, and USHERS should continue to take advantage of the ability of nonprofit organizations to act swiftly to secure properties until an agency can acquire them. Federal acquisition przontzes should guide the process, and the transactions should be in accordance with federal guidelines that control dealing untie nonprofit organizations. The amount of land acquired by He federal government Trough the participation of nonprofit organizations is small compared with the total amount of land acquired. But the nonprofit organizations do play an important role in the acquisition of critical tracts; Hey provide agencies with important flexibility in certain situations and can be key when timing or flexibility is essential. As early as 1970, the Public Land Law Review Commission recommended that the federal agencies use alterna- tive acquisition techniques to combat the price escalation of lands re- quired for federal programs. The federal agencies have developed guidelines for transactions wig nonprofit conservation organizations that emphasize the need to ensure that federal priorities guide federal acquisitions. The guidelines establish procedures governing disclosure and reimbursement to nonprofit organi- zations when they sell land to the government. They make clear also Hat He nonprofit organizations do not act as agents of the government and Hat the agencies and the Congress decide whether to buy specific tracts. The committee believes that the guidelines provide a useful framework for He relationships between the agencies and the land-acqui- sition intermediaries.