Grazing and Rangeland Management

Rangeland Administration System 
Grazing Fact Sheet 
Eastern Arizona Grazing EIS 

Arizona’s public lands are as unique as the southwest’s sunrises and sunsets. Best known for its scorching desert valley environment and signature saguaro cactus, visitors may be surprised to learn that Arizona’s soils nurture dense pine-fir forests and a wide variety of mountain top trees. Embracing the landscape across the state is the growth of a rich and sensitive array of vegetative communities, all thriving with little rainfall.

As a result of this diversity, BLM’s rangeland program places an emphasis in multi-jurisdiction ecosystem management in Arizona. This involves interdisciplinary resource management in consultation and coordination with other federal, state and local agencies and Native American tribes. Specialists consider all components and values offered by public lands, including cultural, recreation, riparian, soils, wildlife, threatened and endangered species and critical watersheds. Additionally, rangelands belonging to Arizona’s three National Conservation Areas, 47 Wilderness Areas and five National Monuments are cared for with special regard for their national designations.  

BLM activities for Arizona’s grazing and rangeland program include resource monitoring, conducting land health assessments and evaluations, use authorizations, allotment planning and administration, developing vegetation objectives, integrating weed management and activity plan development in connection with land use planning.
 
Range Improvement Projects
 
Livestock, fish and wildlife habitat, riparian, watersheds and other resources values benefit from improving the vegetative habitat and rangeland health of public land ecosystems. In Arizona, the BLM address all facets of managing range improvement development on public lands. This includes: project planning; engineering and design; construction; and, project monitoring. The agency’s rangeland improvement policy encourages private parties and other beneficiaries to contribute funds toward improving rangeland conditions and shifts project maintenance responsibilities to the benefiting user.
 
Rangeland improvements include vegetation projects, fencing and wildlife/livestock water developments that have been recommended in activity plans. Projects are initiated within priority watersheds and riparian areas, consistent with integrated weed management programs. Public lands not meeting management objectives are given particular emphasis.

The BLM provides for two types of authorized use:

  1. grazing permits, which authorize use of the public lands within an established grazing district. Grazing districts are specific areas where public lands are administered in accordance with Section 3 of the Taylor Grazing Act; and
  2. grazing leases, which authorize use of public lands outside an established grazing district. Public lands outside grazing district boundaries are administered in accordance with Section 15 of the Taylor Grazing Act.

on the range

Grazing Quick Facts

A permit or lease includes:

  1. The number and kind of livestock;
  2. The period(s) of use;
  3. The allotment(s) to be used; and,
  4. The amount of use, in Animal Unit Months (AUMs). An AUM is the amount of forage necessary for the sustenance of one cow or its equivalent for a period of one month.
BLM Arizona Grazing Permits and Leases in Force as of January 2007 
  • 759 grazing permits and leases
  • 824 allotments
  • 659,990 active AUMs
  • 103,445 suspended AUMs
  • 11.5 million acres of BLM public lands open to grazing
  • 834 operators 
Arizona Grazing Permits in Force on Grazing Districts (Section 3) Lands 
  • 394 Section 3 grazing permits
  • 506,292 active AUMs 1
  • 92,657 suspended AUMs 2 
Arizona Grazing Leases in Force on (Section 15) Lands 
  • 365 Section 15 grazing leases
  • 158,057 active AUMs 1
  • 10,788 suspended AUMs 2

1 Active animal unit months (AUMs): AUMs that could be authorized on public lands; these totals differ from suspended AUMs

2 Suspended AUMs on public lands are not authorized for use.

Source: The BLM Rangeland Administration System (RAS).