Detailed Information on the
Bureau of Land Management - Southern Nevada Land Sales Assessment

Program Code 10002360
Program Title Bureau of Land Management - Southern Nevada Land Sales
Department Name Department of the Interior
Agency/Bureau Name Bureau of Land Management
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2004
Assessment Rating Results Not Demonstrated
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 80%
Strategic Planning 12%
Program Management 71%
Program Results/Accountability 20%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $149
FY2008 $174
FY2009 $125

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Propose to amend SNPLMA to redirect 70% of the revenues from land sales under the Act to the Federal Treasury, where land sale receipts have historically been deposited. This proposal serves the general taxpaying public by providing compensation for lands removed from public ownership. It would also still provide roughly four times the level of spending in Nevada as originally anticipated when SNPLMA was enacted in 1998. The proposal would not change the amount of revenue currently provided to state and local entities, only the portion dedicated to Federal spending in Nevada.

Action taken, but not completed The Administration proposed this change in the 2006 Budget, but Congress did not act on it.

Collect sufficient prior year data and project out year targets for the new performance measures in preparation for RePART. 2007-BLM has developed targets thru 2012. Prior year data is being collected. Followup is planned with OMB for 2008 Q4.

Action taken, but not completed Prior year data and projected targets thru 2012 are available. All performance measure data should be completed 09/30/08. Followup planned with OMB 2008 Q4

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Develop better performance measures for the work that is funded through SNPLMA receipts. This will be done in coordination with other agency programs that conduct similar work. (Anticipated completion: August 2006)

Completed A longterm outcome measure, an annual measure, and an efficiency measure have been developed. Data templates will be completed and ready for review in Q1 2007.

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of total federal land within SNPLMA boundary offered for sale (cumulative)

Explanation:The SNPLMA legislation (as amended) identifies a specific amount of land that BLM is required to offer for sale upon request by a local government. This measure assesses how BLM is progressing toward this ultimate goal.

Year Target Actual
2006 10% 13%
2007 1% 1%
2008 1%
2009 1%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Percent of parcels offered for sale within 12 months of nomination

Explanation:Measures BLM responsiveness to local government demand for lands identified for sale under SNPLMA. Local governments nominate Federal land parcels for sale based on community needs. BLM offers the parcels through competitive land sales.

Year Target Actual
2006 90% 12%
2007 .13% 100% (46/46)
2008 100% (312/312)
2009 100%
2010 100%
2011 100%
2012 100%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The program purpose is to provide for the orderly disposal of certain Federal lands in Clark County, Nevada, and to provide for the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands in the State of Nevada as well as to provide for community recreation and infrastructure needs in Clark County. The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, as amended, provides that land sale receipts are to be used for: 1) BLM's costs in implementing the Act and in completing land disposal actions; 2) acquiring environmentally sensitive land in Nevada; 3) completing capital improvements on BLM, NPS, USFS and NPS lands; 4) developing a multi-species habitat plan in Clark County; 5) funding the development of parks, trails and natural areas in Clark County; 6) conservation initiatives on federal land administered by DOI and USDA in Clark County; 7) Lake Tahoe restoration projects; and 8) payments to the State of Nevada General Education Fund and to the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Evidence: PL 105-263, PL 107-282, HR-2000, the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act Implementation Agreement and Strategic Plan.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest or need?

Explanation: The program was designed to address specific needs related to development in the Las Vegas Valley and replace a land exchange program which had been the subject of critical audit reviews. Additionally, the proceeds from land sales are used to fund purchases of environmentally sensitive lands and for recreation and related projects in Clark County.

Evidence: The enabling laws and the Congressional Record detail the intent of the law and describe the specific need for the program.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The land sale program as conducted under the laws referenced in Question 1.1 is unique to the Department and the Bureau. Sale proceeds are used for land acquisitions and projects in Nevada, as approved by the Secretary of Interior. Projects funded through program revenues are coordinated with other projects in each affected bureau (i.e., BLM, NPS, FWS, and USFS) as each bureau submits project requests for SNPLMA program funding. Similar coordination occurs for project requests by state, local and private entities.

Evidence: The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act of 2000 (PL 106-248) and the Lincoln County Land Act of 2000 (PL 106-298) do not apply within the SNPLMA boundary.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The program is not free of design flaws because it is generating significantly more revenues than had been anticipated. The Administration would like to work with the Congress to identify alternatives for allocating these revenues.

Evidence: The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) and legislative history; Clark County Conservation Act of 2002; SNPLMA Implementation Agreement; recent land sale receipts and fund balances.

NO 0%

Is the program effectively targeted, so that resources will reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: Despite the legislation's underlying design problems, intended beneficiaries and program purposes are identified specifically in the SNPLMA legislation (PL 105-263) and subsequent laws (PL 107-282), and the program's public participation process ensures that resources are targeted to these beneficiaries. There is little evidence to suggest at this point that activities that would have occurred without the program are being subsidized beyond a level that may be warranted. But based on the recent unanticipated high levels of receipts, this remains a distinct possibility as the program moves forward.

Evidence: The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA); Clark County Conservation Act of 2002; SNPLMA Implementation Agreement; authorized SNPLMA projects for Rounds 1-5.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 80%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: While the program has a clear set of objectives and a process for prioritizing activities, the agency lacks quality performance measures for most aspects of the program. Therefore, it is difficult to say whether the program is effectively and efficiently meeting its long-term outcome goals. The agency has developed a few performance measures for the disposal side of the program and is in the process of developing targets for these measures. DOI is working with OMB to develop specific long-term measures for the spending side of the program.

Evidence: See attached list of measures.

NO 0%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Quantifiable targets are being developed for the disposal-related measures referenced in question 2.1.

Evidence: N/A.

NO 0%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: Annual performance measures will be developed to correspond to the long-term measures that are under development.

Evidence: See attached list of measures.

NO 0%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Specific annual targets and baseline data will be established for the measures that are under development.

Evidence: N/A.

NO 0%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: Because the program lacks good performance measures, these partners are not held accountable for their contribution to the program's broader performance goals. However, work is completed through and with contractors and partners in performing program tasks.

Evidence: The SNPLMA Implementation Agreement and Task Orders describe contractor and partner commitments to meeting specific program tasks. Implementation Agreement ' Special Account Obligation and Reimbursement Process (pgs. 13-21) and Appendix H (pgs. 47-52).

NO 0%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Internal and external audits and reviews have been conducted on the disposal side of the program, primarily relating to financial management. However, there is no schedule established for regular, independent reviews, and the spending side of the program has not yet been evaluated.

Evidence: DOI, OIG Report No. 2003-I-0065, audits performed under the CFO Act resulting in Audited Financial Statements and a planned program assessment for FY04 are among the current evaluation tools.

NO 0%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Budget documents cannot be directly linked to performance because of the lack of adequate performance measures.

Evidence: N/A.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: A program strategic plan has been prepared, and is being updated. A plan update began in February 2004 is scheduled for completion in FY 2004. An overall program evaluation is scheduled to begin this year. New performance measures have been developed for the disposal portion of the program, and the agency is working on developing measures on the spending side.

Evidence: Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act Strategic Plan and Strategic Plan Updates.

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 12%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: Although there is not a clear link to agency performance measures, BLM collects cost, schedule, and performance information on each project funded with SNPLMA receipts from each bureau as well as from external partners. This information is used to manage the program and provides the basis for BLM reimbursement of project costs.

Evidence: Quarterly reports, reimbursement requests, payment requests, site inspections and status reports document performance and provide evidence of areas where performance can be improved.

YES 14%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: Costs, schedules, and performance are regularly measured and Federal managers, partners and contractors are held accountable for completing specific tasks. However, managers' appraisals are not linked to broader program goals.

Evidence: Project Task Orders specifically identify costs, schedules and expected outcomes. Reimbursements requests are reconciled with projects approved by the Secretary of the Interior and with approved Task Orders.

NO 0%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: The timing and purpose of obligations are clearly defined by task orders and approved budgets. Business rules have been established to determine intended purpose of expenditures.

Evidence: Task Orders, reimbursement requests, BLM spending reports and SNPLMA budget documents provide evidence of timely, appropriate expenditures. The SNPLMA Implementation Agreement details the program business rules and establishes timelines for expenditures.

YES 14%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: On the disposal side, BLM indicates that it has taken steps to improve efficiency and effectiveness, such as the automation of a land sales database to allow pre-registration of potential bidders, developments and refinement of a website to provide accurate up-to-date information to the public (resulting in fewer phone calls or other information requests), and establishment of a bidder deposit to qualify potential bidders and curtail defaults on parcels offered at auction. However, little evidence is available to suggest that the program has processes in place to measure efficiencies and cost effectiveness on the spending side of the program.

Evidence: Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report No. 2003-I-0065, Audited Financial Statements in compliance with the CFO Act.

NO 0%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: Collaboration with other Federal, State, local and private programs and stakeholders is an essential element of this program, and builds in checks and balances for internal controls. The National Business Center and the BLM Washington Office play key roles in this collaboration process.

Evidence: Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report No. 2003-I-0065. Program goals, performance measures and planning documents are developed and implemented on a collaborative basis. Regularly scheduled Federal Manager and Local Partner meetings formalize the coordination efforts. Congressional briefings and public meetings provide a forum for other input and collaboration.

YES 14%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Financial management systems are in place to ensure that the program is free of material internal control weaknesses. Regulatory and program reports are reconciled for increased accountability.

Evidence: The OIG Report No. 2003-I-0065 states that "SNPLMA's Project Office and BLM's national business center have worked together to develop and maintain good controls in accounting for and disbursing the receipts derived from federal land sales". An independent audit firm annually provides Chief Financial Officer Act Audited Financial Statements, and BLM has strong internal management systems and controls. The SNPLMA Financial Matrix provides a ready resource for tracking of receipts and obligations. Business Management Roles & Responsibilities, IM BC 2003-046, IM NC 2003-105, IM NC 2003-106.

YES 14%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: Program management activities are regularly reviewed to identify and correct management deficiencies. Addressing the program's strategic planning deficiencies will help identify areas for management improvement. The referenced OIG report and CFO audits also identify areas for improvement. Continuous improvement practices such as annual Implementation Agreement revisions and stakeholder and partner working group meetings help ensure that deficiencies are addressed. The SNPLMA website offers opportunity for public involvement and comment.

Evidence: An independent program assessment has been ordered for FY04. Post-sale critiques are held to identify deficiencies and prescribe corrective action. In one example, a critique revealed a problem with bidder defaults and resulted in a requirement for bid deposits to qualify potential bidders (published as Notice of Realty Action 4-08807). The annual Implementation Agreement revision was completed in June 2004.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 71%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: Program received a 'No' in reference to Question 2.1. Although specific annual and long-term performance targets are only now being set, the program is on track to meet the broader long term performance goal associated with disposal of federal lands, as set out in the enabling legislation.

Evidence: DOI has sold 8,142 acres out of a total 49,000 acres identified within the disposal boundary established in the enabling legislation (PL 105-263, PL 107-282).

NO 0%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Program received a 'No' in reference to Question 2.2. Specific annual performance targets have not yet been established.

Evidence: N/A.

NO 0%

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: BLM has not been able to provide sufficient evidence that the program has made any substantial improvements in its efficiency and/or effectiveness, particularly on the spending side of the program.

Evidence: N/A.

NO 0%

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: On the land disposal side, this program compares favorably to the Arizona State Land Department program of competitive land sales. (No other government or private programs with similar purposes has been identified.) Comparisons are less obvious for land acquisition and recreation projects. However, both the project ranking process and the performance measurement challenges for these projects are similar to that of programs in other agencies. So one would expect performance of the SNPLMA program to be relatively comparable in these areas.

Evidence: DOI-OIG Report No. 2003-I-0065 calls this program "A Model for Success" in Partnerships, Public Land Auctions, and a Businesslike Approach to Financial Controls.


Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: A recent IG evaluation found that the program is very effective on the land disposal side and in terms of financial controls. However, many questions remain regarding the effectiveness of the spending side of the program (e.g., land acquisition and recreation projects). A program assessment is currently being conducted on the entire program and will hopefully provide some useful information in terms of program effectiveness.

Evidence: OIG Report No. 2003-I-0065 has been completed, and the program receives annual Audited Financial Statements in conformance with CFO Act Audits. Quarterly status reports are prepared and reviewed. An independent program assessment has been ordered for FY04.

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 20%

Last updated: 09062008.2004SPR