Rangelands are generally defined as uncultivated lands that provide the necessities of life for browsing and grazing animals. Browsing animals (i.e. mule deer) will often consume the edible twigs and leaves of woody plants, while, grazing animals (i.e. cattle) will select the herbaceous forage (i.e. grasses and forbs). Rangelands are the dominate ecosystem found on all continents compared to woodlands, farmlands, or urbanized/ industrialized lands.
Range managers work with rangeland components in order to obtain the optimal combination of goods and services for society on a sustainable basis by protecting and enhancing the vegetation/soil complex, and improving or maintaining the output of consumable range products.
Few basic concepts:
- Rangelands are a renewable resource
- Climate, topography, and the soil component drive rangeland production
- Energy from the sun is captured by plants and photosynthesized as forage which can then be harvested by grazing animals
- Rangelands supply humans with food through consumption of grazing animals at a low energy cost
- There are a variety of benefits from productive rangelands, including watershed and soil protection, forage, recreation, and wildlife habitat
There are 58 grazing allotments within the 750,000 acres of public land that the Bishop Field Office manages. Of those 58 allotments, 52 of them are actively being used to date, by 26different sheep and cattle permitees.
Click here for list of allotments
Two major rangeland types exist within the Bishop Field Office boundaries.
- Western Great Basin - Located north of Bishop extending to the Bodie Hills. This range type has an elevation of approximately 7,000 to 10,000 feet.
- Mojave Desert - Located south of Bishop extending down to Owens Lake. This range type has an elevation of approximately 3,000 to 7,000 feet. These lands are generally intermingled with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Within the Bishop Field office, the range program shares common rangeland interests and concerns with other programs, such as, archeology, wildlife, and botany. Therefore, as a team, we manage vegetation to promote healthy rangeland habitat needs and benefits for a variety of species.
Work is focused toward maintaining/attaining;
Emphasis is placed on consultation, coordination, and cooperation with permitees to adjust annual grazing operations depending upon plant phenology, climatic conditions, and range readiness.