PETITION | Demand that BLM Address Overgrazing & Restore Land Health

To: Director, The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Dear Director Stone-Manning,

BLM is supposed to use standards and guidelines to assess land health and to make management decisions to achieve and maintain healthy lands on grazing allotments.

However, a recent analysis by PEER of BLM data reveals that more than 56 million acres of land assessed by BLM failed BLM’s land health standards. The analysis further found that on at least 37 million acres, livestock is identified as the major cause of failure, and that BLM has not completed land health assessments on more than 36 million acres of grazing allotments.

BLM’s data show that overgrazing is the biggest cause of land health failure across the West by far.

BLM must do a better job of protecting our public lands. That is why we are calling on BLM to take the following steps:

  1. Evaluate all unassessed grazing allotments within one year to determine whether they meet the agency’s land health standards. Some rangelands have not been assessed in the last 30 years.
  2. Commit to improving the number of acres that fail to meet land health standards by 50 percent in the next three years by making management changes on the allotments that fail to meet land health standards by addressing overgrazing.
  3. Improve transparency and accountability at BLM by publishing an online, interactive database of health assessments by December 2024. The public should have accessible and up-to-date information on the health of our lands.

It is time to act boldly and decisively! Please take these steps to improve BLM’s land health program and address the problems of overgrazing on public lands. It is our collective responsibility to protect these valuable natural resources.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Too often, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is failing to protect healthy rangelands on the 155 million acres devoted to its commercial livestock grazing program.

Healthy rangelands support a diverse array of plant and animal species, provide essential habitats, and promote biodiversity. They offer critical refuge for threatened and endangered species, contribute to soil stability, and prevent erosion. Intact vegetation cover helps to reduce soil erosion by wind and water, protecting the land from degradation.

Rangelands aid in maintaining water quality and hydrological cycles. They act as natural watersheds, recharge groundwater, support stream flow during dry periods, and mitigate the impacts of floods and droughts. Rangelands help ease the impacts of climate change by acting as carbon sinks that hold carbon in vegetation and soils and reduce greenhouse gas concentrations.

Millions of acres of our public lands are not healthy. PEER’s recent analysis of BLM data PEER found that tens of millions of acres are in poor ecological health. Specifically, PEER found that more than 56 million acres of land assessed by BLM failed BLM’s land health standards. BLM’s data shows that overgrazing is the biggest cause of land health failure across the West by far. Livestock is identified as the major cause of failure on at least 37 million acres. BLM has not completed land health evaluations on over 36 million acres of grazing allotments.

To enhance its ability to manage public land effectively, BLM urgently needs to improve its land health program on grazing allotments and address the problems of overgrazing on public lands.

Please join us and call on BLM to commit to change.

BLM must do a better job of protecting our public land. Our future depends on it.

Read our Rangeland Health and the BLM Grazing Program fact sheet and explore our interactive BLM Rangeland Health Data Map.

Phone: 202-265-7337

962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 610
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4453

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