VIDEO | Mapping the Range

The Bureau of Land Management administers more 245 million acres of public land. There are 155 million acres of leased grazing allotments. Rangeland health – or Land Health Standards (LHS) – refers to the quality and sustainability of waterways, habitats, soil, flora and fauna on the range (43 CFR §§ 4180.1, 4180.2). Many factors impact rangeland health– off road vehicles, drought, the spread of invasive species and fire. However, BLM identifies livestock grazing as the most frequently cited cause of range failure.

Through multiple public record requests, PEER gathered the agency’s data from each state and every field office. PEER plotted the data from 21,000 allotments on one interactive map – a visual compilation of the agency’s data on the rangeland health of each allotment.

Findings

  • BLM has assessed land health standards on approximately 108 million acres of grazed public lands. They have yet to assess nearly 41 million acres.
  • Of the total acres assessed, 50% fail to meet LHS, totaling 54 million acres, approximately the area of Washington state.
  • Of the lands that failed to meet LHS, the agency said that in 72% of cases a significant cause was livestock grazing – that’s approximately 40 million acres, roughly the size of Wisconsin, that are failing due to overgrazing.
  • There is a massive allotment in Wyoming, over 950,000 public acres, that is identified as failing LHS and reports livestock grazing as a significant cause.
  • The records reveal that many allotments have never been assessed, including a 1.4-million-acre allotment in Nevada.
  • Wild horses are cited as “a significant disturbance factor” more than 50 times, but most frequently in conjunction with livestock.

Visit https://www.peer.org/mapping-the-range to learn more»

Explore the Rangeland Health Map»

Download the Full Rangeland Health Fact Sheet»