UM Article Honored by Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review

University of Montana professors Martin Nie and Monte Mills recently received an honorable mention for the best environmental law article of the year from the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a collaboration between the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt University. Their article “Bridges to a New Era: A Report on the Past, Present, and Potential Future of Tribal Co-Management on Federal Public Lands,” was chosen as one of the year’s top five academic articles presenting legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems from of a pool of hundreds of law review articles considered by law students and a prestigious expert advisory committee.

Nie is a professor of natural resource policy and the director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, and Mills is a professor and co-director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic in the Blewett School of Law.

Published in the Public Lands and Resources Law Review in 2021, “Bridges to a New Era” provides an in-depth legal and policy review of tribal co-management in the U.S. and its application on federal public lands. The report examines the central legal and policy challenges and opportunities to practicing co-management on public lands and is intended to be a resource for those tribes wishing to pursue this approach.

Since publication of their article, Mills and Nie have worked with tribal leaders and officials inside the White House and Department of Interior to help with matters pertaining to the laws and policies of tribal co-management on public lands. In November 2021, the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture issued an unprecedented Joint Secretarial Order (3403) on the co-stewardship of federal lands and waters, including wildlife and its habitat. The authors say the order could potentially help catalyze the use of co-management agreements on public lands.

The “Bridges to a New Era” report also marks an important collaboration between the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic and the Bolle Center for People and Forests, both named for transformative figures who continue to inspire work in the fields of Indian and federal public lands law.

The two authors will soon release a follow-up to “Bridges to a New Era” with a piece specifically focused on the legal and policy context of practicing tribal co-management on public lands in Alaska. This article will be published in March by the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.