Land Research

The Program conducts land research to collect the data necessary to establish the fair market value for the eligible tracts containing fractional interests. Information for thousands of tracts must be generated from the Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS) and other sources to provide the data needed for the valuation process. The development of mapping data and the performance of mineral assessments and, where applicable, environmental reviews are key components of the land research process. 


The land research effort includes identification of the fractionated tracts under Tribal jurisdiction and the review of the legal land description of the tract. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Land Titles and Records (BIA DLTR) created geographic information system (GIS) layers and geodatabases to depict the tracts under Tribal jurisdiction using data from TAAMS, the BLM Public Land Survey System (PLSS), and other GIS land-based data.

Mapping tracts supports the subsequent valuation process by enabling tract land use categorization (e.g., range, dry crop, and irrigated crop), geographical analysis, evaluation of mineral resources, and comparison to surrounding land. If a tract contains a parcel that cannot be mapped, then the Program cannot make offers for interests in the entire tract.

As a result of the mapping process, several mapping products are created and shared with Tribes, including geodatabases, wall maps, and individual tract maps. Individual tract maps are also included in landowner purchase offer packages. The PLSS geodatabase and parcel geodatabase require GIS capabilities. Tribes can work with the Program and BIA DLTR to acquire the necessary software and receive GIS training.

Mineral Resources

The Department’s Appraisal & Valuation Services Office - Division of Minerals Evaluation (DME) conducts minerals assessments in three stages:

  • Stage 1 parcels have no current viable economic mineralization or market potential.
  • Stage 2 parcels require more research, data, and time to estimate potential value and marketability for a commodity.
  • Stage 3 parcels are associated with demonstrable commodity reserves, requiring intensive analysis.

The DME examines parcels associated with Program implementation for a given location. Currently, the Program does not value tracts containing Stage 2 or Stage 3 minerals.

Restricted Fee Interests

Restricted fee land is a land ownership status in which an individual or Tribe holds title, but there are restrictions on use and/or disposition of the land. The BIA performs limited environmental reviews that are required in order to acquire restricted fee interests. Tracts identified as having potential environmental concerns are excluded from offers. In the event the Program determines that limited environmental reviews and acquisition of restricted fee interests are not cost effective, it may exclude restricted fee interests from offers.

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