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BLM Marks Updates to Manual of Surveying Instructions

September 23, 2009
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WHAT: Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Wilma Lewis and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Ned Farquhar will join the Bureau of Land Management in celebrating the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) and to mark completion of the 2009 edition of the Manual of Surveying Instructions.

WHEN: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday, September 24, 2009 (Media PLSS Q&A Session with attending dignitaries and BLM Chief Cadastral Surveyor Donald Buhler at ~4:40 p.m.)

WHERE: Department of the Interior, Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street, N.W., South Penthouse and Terrace, 7th Floor (Use Visitor’s Entrance on C St.)

BACKGROUND: The Manual of Surveying Instructions describes how cadastral surveys of Federal lands are made in conformance to statutory law and its judicial interpretation. The updated Manual is now consistent with current legislation, judicial and administrative decisions, and current surveying practice. Primary users include Federal and State Authority Surveyors, county and other local surveyors, attorneys and solicitors, and title insurance and real estate industry personnel. The hard-bound Manual is the standard to which 256 Federal Authority Surveyors, 278 Certified Federal Surveyors, and about 50,000 private surveyors adhere in conducting surveys.

This event culminates years of work and launches extensive interagency and public outreach efforts to educate and inform users about the next edition of the Manual. When the Manual was last issued in 1973, editors could not have foreseen the modern technology now commonly used in the surveying community. It also became necessary to incorporate current legislation and recent judicial and administrative decisions into the Manual, as well as update it to reflect BLM policy and procedural changes. The BLM acts as the U.S. Government’s cadastral surveyors, maintaining the record of public land surveys spanning back to 1785. These records are the foundation of stable land boundaries across 30 States. Contact Don Buhler at (202) 912-7353 for more information.


The BLM manages more land – 256 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The BLM accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, energy production, and Federal land surveying and survey record maintenance, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

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