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for people who care about the West

Range report

What the BLM can (and can’t) tell us about the state of rangeland health.

 

The nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility recently released an online interactive map of Bureau of Land Management assessments, providing surprising details on the state of the public range. For example, 16 percent of roughly 20,000 grazing allotments failed to meet the BLM’s ecological health standards — based on criteria such as soil health, water quality and at-risk species habitat — because of damage caused by livestock. Almost three-quarters of the assessments have been completed. The speed and quality of assessments depend on individual offices. Idaho’s Snake River Plain field offices appear to be above average in completion rates, while declaring more land unhealthy than other regions. The BLM records include some duplicates, and many allotment boundaries have shifted since the assessments were done. This map represents the most recent available data.