U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Nov 29, 2023

§ 49.1 - What does this part do?

This part:

(a) Directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS) (collectively referred to as “the bureaus”) to preserve, manage, and protect paleontological resources on Federal land using scientific principles and expertise;

(b) Coordinates paleontological resources management among the bureaus;

(c) Promotes public awareness; provides for collection under permit; clarifies that paleontological resources cannot be collected from Federal land for sale or purchase; establishes civil and criminal penalties; sets curation standards; and

(d) Authorizes casual collecting of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources from certain BLM-administered land and certain Reclamation-administered land.

§ 49.5 - What terms are used in this part?

The terms used in this part have the following definitions.

Act means title VI, subtitle D of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act on Paleontological Resources Preservation (16 U.S.C. 470aaa–470aaa–11).

Ad Hoc Board means an Ad Hoc Board of Appeals appointed by the Director, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Department of the Interior.

Approved repository means a Federal or non-Federal facility that provides for the curation of paleontological resources and that is approved by the Federal land manager to receive collections made under this part.

Associated records means original records or copies thereof, regardless of format, that include but are not limited to:

(1) Primary records relating to identification, evaluation, documentation, study, preservation, context, or recovery of a paleontological resource;

(2) Public records including, but not limited to, land status records, bureau reports, publications, court documents, and agreements; and

(3) Administrative records and reports generated during the permitting process that pertain to survey, excavation, or study of the paleontological resource.

Bureau means Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), or National Park Service (NPS).

Collection means paleontological resources that are removed from Federal land under the provisions of this part, and associated records.

Consumptive analysis means the alteration or destruction of a paleontological specimen or portion of a specimen for scientific research.

Cost of response, restoration, and repair means the costs to respond to a violation of the provisions of this part or a permit issued under this part and the costs of restoration and repair of the paleontological resources or paleontological sites damaged as a result of the violation. Those costs are described in greater detail in § 49.610.

Curation means those activities pertinent to management and preservation of a collection over the long term according to professional museum and archival practices, including at a minimum:

(1) Accessioning, cataloging, labeling, and inventorying a collection;

(2) Identifying, evaluating, and documenting a collection;

(3) Storing and maintaining a collection using appropriate methods and containers, and under appropriate environmental conditions and physical security controls;

(4) Periodically inspecting a collection and taking such actions as may be necessary to preserve it;

(5) Providing access and facilities to study a collection;

(6) Handling, cleaning, sorting, and stabilizing a collection in such a manner as to preserve it; and

(7) Lending a collection, or parts thereof, for scientific, educational or preservation purposes.

Day means a 24-hour calendar day.

DCHD means the Departmental Cases Hearings Division, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Department of the Interior.

Department or DOI means the Department of the Interior.

Deposit means placing a collection in an approved repository.

Federal land means land controlled or administered by the Secretary of the Interior, except for Indian land.

Federal land manager means the bureau personnel who implement the Act. Each bureau may have multiple Federal land managers. For paleontological resources from lands administered by BLM, “Federal land manager” is synonymous with “authorized officer.” Federal land managers draw upon appropriate scientific and technical expertise to make decisions and take actions.

Fossilized means evidence or remains of once-living organisms preserved by natural processes, such as burial in accumulated sediments, preserved in ice or amber, permineralized, or replaced by minerals, which may or may not alter the original organic content.

Indian land means land of federally recognized Indian Tribes or Indian individuals which is either held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States.

Nature means features, characteristics, or attributes of the paleontological resource.

OHA means the Office of Hearings and Appeals, DOI.

OHA Director means the Director, Office of Hearings and Appeals, DOI.

Paleontological resource means any fossilized remains, traces, or imprints of organisms preserved in or on the Earth's crust, except for:

(1) Those that are found in an archaeological context and are an archaeological resource as defined in section 3(1) of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 470bb(1)); or

(2) “Cultural items,” as defined in section 2 of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001); or

(3) Resources determined in writing by the Federal land manager to lack paleontological interest or not provide information about the history of life on earth, based on scientific and other management considerations.

Paleontological site means a locality, location, or area where a paleontological resource is found; the site can be relatively small or large.

Preparation means separation of paleontological resources from entombing matrix.

Specific location means any description or depiction of a place in such detail that it would allow a person to find a paleontological resource or the site from which it was collected.

State means one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

Working collection means collections that, while still Federal property, are not intended for long-term preservation and care as museum property since they do not further paleontological knowledge, public education, or management of paleontological resources. Working collections are intended for use during education or ongoing research and may be consumed during the analysis process according to bureau policy. Some specimens and items may subsequently be designated museum property. Working collections may be discarded when it is determined there is no longer a need for the collection for future research or education or upon completion of the ongoing research according to standards set in bureau policy.

§ 49.10 - Does this part affect existing authorities?

No. This part preserves the authority of the Secretary of the Interior and the bureaus under this and other laws and regulations to preserve, manage, and protect paleontological resources on Federal land.

§ 49.15 - When does this part not apply?

(a) The regulations in this part do not invalidate, modify, or impose additional restrictions or permitting requirements on mineral, reclamation, or related multiple-use activities which the Department or a bureau may authorize or for which permits may be issued under the general mining, mineral leasing, geothermal leasing, or mineral materials disposal laws.

(b) The regulations in this part do not apply to Indian land.

(c) The regulations in this part do not apply to any land other than Federal land as defined in this part, or resources other than paleontological resources as defined in this part.

(d) On lands administered by BLM or Reclamation, the following are not subject to this part:

(1) Fossilized minerals, including coal, oil shale, bitumen, lignite, asphaltum, tar sands, and other economic minerals that are subject to existing mining or mineral laws and geological units and industrial minerals, including, but not limited to, phosphate, limestone, diatomaceous earth, coquina, chalk beds, and paleosols. However, paleontological resources that occur within in these units may be subject to this part;

(2) Petrified wood, defined at 30 U.S.C. 611.

(3) Conodonts.

§ 49.20 - Does this part create new rights or entitlements?

(a) This part does not create any right, privilege, benefit, or entitlement for any person who is not an officer or employee of the United States acting in that capacity.

(b) Only an officer or employee of the United States acting in that capacity has standing to file a civil action in a court of the United States to enforce this part.

§ 49.25 - What information concerning the nature and specific location of paleontological resources is confidential?

(a) Information concerning the nature and specific location of a paleontological resource is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and any other law unless the Federal land manager determines that the disclosure would:

(1) Further the purposes of the Act;

(2) Not create risk of harm to or theft or destruction of the resource or site containing the resource; and

(3) Be in accordance with other applicable laws.

(b) The Federal land manager may define bureau-specific confidentiality requirements that are consistent with paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section.

(c) Information that is shared with a contractor, permittee, repository, or other partner in furtherance of the Act is not considered an official public disclosure for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.

§ 49.30 - How will the bureaus conduct inventory, monitoring, and preservation activities?

(a) The bureaus will develop plans and procedures for the inventory and monitoring of paleontological resources on and from Federal land in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

(b) The bureaus will preserve, manage, and protect paleontological resources on and from Federal land using scientific principles and expertise.

(c) Activities under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section will be coordinated with other agencies, non-Federal partners, the scientific community, and the general public where appropriate and practicable.

§ 49.35 - How will the bureaus foster public education and awareness?

The bureaus will establish programs to increase public awareness about the significance of paleontological resources on or from Federal land. This effort will be coordinated with other agencies, non-Federal partners, the scientific community, and the general public where appropriate and practicable.

§ 49.40 - May the bureaus restrict access to an area?

(a) The Federal land manager may restrict access to an area or close areas to collection of paleontological resources to protect paleontological or other resources or to provide for public safety.

(b) The regulations in this part do not preclude the use of other authorities that provide for area restrictions or closures on Federal land.