In late April, field biologist Stanley Smith was catching up on emails at his desk in the College of Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, when he noticed a shocking note. It came from the Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the Department of the Interior, and informed Smith that the public lands advisory council in southern Nevada that he’s served on for years was suspended. Across the country, other regional advisors got similar notices.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had called for a review of more than 200 independent groups that advise his department on various issues, such as whether a historical site or natural feature should be designated a national monument. The day before Smith received his notification, President Trump signed an executive order asking the Interior to review 21 sites recently designated as national monuments. The review would cover patches of wilderness that received the distinction after 1996, like Mojave Trails in California and Bears Ears in Utah, and would assess whether public opinion was adequately taken into account prior to elevating their status.

The monument order itself was controversial. But the months-long suspension of the advisory groups means that while Zinke’s team is reconsidering the bounds — and even existence — of some national monuments, the teams specifically set up to provide local input will be out of commission. Called Resource Advisory Councils (RACs), the groups consist of representatives from varied backgrounds, such as oil and gas, ranching, tribal government, and academia.