The Department of the Interior has proposed a new rule to “preserve, manage, and protect paleontological resources” on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The proposed rule would address the management, collection, and curation of paleontological resources from federal lands using scientific principles and expertise, including collection in accordance with permits; curation in an approved repository; and maintenance of confidentiality of specific locality data.

A permit would be required for collecting paleontological resources or disturbing paleontological sites except for casual collecting on certain lands managed by the Bureaus of Land Management or Reclamation where casual collecting is allowed. All collected materials will be the property of the Federal Government, and must be managed and curated consistent with certain requirements.

The rule would implement the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act, which was enacted in 2009. The Forest Service finalized a regulation to implement the law on Department of Agriculture lands in 2015. The proposed rule would implement the law on lands managed by the Department of the Interior, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and lands managed by the Bureaus of Land Management and Reclamation.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by February 6, 2017.

Learn more about the proposed rule and how to submit comments at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-07/html/2016-29244.htm.

NSC Alliance is currently analyzing the proposed rule and may submit comments. Please contact Robert Gropp, NSC Alliance director of public policy, with any feedback.