Monitoring Range Conditions

A grazing permit decision describes monitoring the BLM will perform on the allotment to determine whether the management plan for the allotment is being carried out as authorized in the permit.

Data collected during monitoring also helps the BLM ensure that grazing management is working as expected to accomplish broader resource objectives.

Monitoring helps the BLM determine whether conditions on an allotment are meeting or moving toward meeting Standards for Rangeland Health and other desired conditions — for example, rehabilitation following wildland fire or wildlife habitat conservation/restoration.

The BLM measures utilization, the percentage of particular plant species consumed during a grazing year.  Photos are useful in documenting utilization and other conditions being monitored.

Range specialists often conduct transects, which measure the height, types and species of vegetation on an allotment.  Point-intercept transects document the litter, grasses, forbs and shrubs found in a particular location.

Vegetation in riparian areas is also an important indicator.  Adequate vegetation controls erosion, shades and stabilize streambanks, and filters sediment.  Water samples are analyzed to ensure compliance with State water quality standards.

Detailed monitoring of the health of native plant communities is another important part of monitoring.  Multiple plant structures, diverse age classes, seed production and vigor indicate desired conditions.

BLM range specialists use monitoring data to look for ways of improving grazing management by adjusting components of the livestock management system described in the grazing permit: e.g., season of use, rest rotation, utilization and stubble height, and placement and design of fencing and water facilities.

Brought to you by: The Bureau of Land Management

A point-intercept transect

Watch IRRC Monitoring video clip.