Bureau of Land Management announced on December 19, 2016 that it will apply its master leasing planning tool to 71,000 acres of the public lands it manages in Montezuma and La Plata Counties in southwest Colorado. (44,000 acres are in Montezuma County and 27,000 acres are in LaPlata County.) The original number of acres under consideration during the year long public meetings and input process had been 326,000. But the remaining area includes some mule deer severe winter range and migration routes. According to announcement the process will begin in June of 2018.
Through a master leasing plan the community may ensure that wildlife resources remain robust for future generations in this area and do not become slowly degraded as future oil and gas development occurs. For example, on BLM lands close to Mesa Verde National Park certain wildlife protection measures can be determined and imposed before parcels are leased, to minimize habitat fragmentation.