So what are the problems, and what needs to change? For starters, the current cattle program is deeply under-resourced, said Chandra Rosenthal in a video interview with Gizmodo. Rosenthal is the head of the Rocky Mountain office of the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which provides legal and other support for current and former public employees. The BLM is supposed to track the health of every parcel of rangeland it allots to ranchers, Rosenthal said. Yet through PEER’s own analysis (developed by a former BLM subcontractor), the nonprofit found that the Bureau hasn’t recorded any monitoring data on about 28% of that land. And of the land it had assessed, the BLM noted about half failed to meet its own Land Health Standards, according to PEER’s 2020 review. In 72% of those failures, covering about 40 million acres of land, the BLM indicated livestock overgrazing was a central factor. “We think that the program is really understaffed,” said Rosenthal, who said she and PEER have spoken with numerous past and present workers at the Bureau concerned that the land they oversee is in worse condition than it was when they began their jobs. “There’s a lot of dissatisfaction in those positions,” she added.
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