Rocky Mountain Native Selected for Colorado’s Top BLM Position

Bureau of Land Management

For release: May 19, 2014

Contact: Jeff Krauss   (202-912-7410)

Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze today announced the appointment of Ruth Welch as the BLM Colorado State Director. Welch most recently served as Director of the agency’s National Operations Center in Denver. She has been acting State Director in Colorado since February.

“Ruth has broad experience in natural resource management and her depth of knowledge and record of collaboration with stakeholders on complex issues will serve her well in this important leadership position,” Kornze said. “We have a great responsibility to manage the public lands in Colorado for the benefit of current and future generations, and Ruth has the vision and know how to uphold the public trust and the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission.”

In her new role, Welch will oversee about 600 employees with a budget of approximately $97 million and administer 8.3 million acres of BLM public lands and 27 million acres of mineral estate, primarily concentrated in the western portion of the state.

Welch began her career with the Office of Surface Mining in 1989 before joining the BLM in 1993 where she has served in leadership positions in Wyoming, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

In Wyoming, she served as Associate State Director, the number two position in the state, and in her most recent position, she oversaw the National Operations Center whose mission is to provide effective internal and technical support to BLM offices nationwide and the general public.

She earned her Master of Public Administration at the University of Colorado in Denver in 2000; she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and English literature in 1986 from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. Welch will begin her new assignment immediately. She and her husband Mark have two grown children and three grandchildren.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.