U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 292

Ranchers, Agency Specialists Study Rangeland Monitoring Methods

Livestock grazing permit holders and federal agency resource managers spent a day in the high desert range of northeast California recently, in a  training session on monitoring the health of rangelands.

The session, hosted by the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee, was designed to enable ranchers to learn the monitoring methods used by rangeland management specialists with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.  Organizers hope that  permittees will sign cooperative monitoring agreements with the BLM Surprise Field Office or the Modoc National Forest's Warner Mountain Ranger District, both based in Cedarville.

"With a cooperative monitoring agreement in place, livestock grazers can monitor the areas of public lands used by their livestock and present the data to the agencies," explained Steve Surian, a rangeland management specialist with the BLM's Surprise Field Office.  "The agencies will review the data, and may accept it as valid in documenting rangeland conditions."

Below, Rob Jeffers of the Modoc National Forest demonstrates a measuring technique along a creek course.
Rob Jeffers of the Modoc National Forest demonstrates a measuring technique along a creek course.

About 15 Modoc County ranchers turned out for the workshop, learning how BLM and Forest Service specialists measure plant utilization in riparian areas, uplands and in aspen stands.

Below,  Surian discusses use of an exclosure cage and other techniques for measuring livestock use in uplands.  Workshop participants and agency range managers discussed their observations of plant health  in various areas, guided by the standards used by agency range management specialists.  BLM Surprise Field Manager Shane DeForest also participated in the workshop and shared his views with participants (second photo below).
BLM rangeland management specialist Steve Surian discusses use of an exclosure cage and other techniques for measuring livestock use in uplands.
BLM Surprise Field Manager Shane DeForest also participated in the workshop and shared his views with participants

The BLM and the Public Lands Council in 1994 signed  a memorandum of understanding endorsing cooperative monitoring of public rangelands.

The 17-member Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Steering Committee, which hosted the workshop, advises the BLM Surprise Field Office and the Modoc National Forest Warner Mountain Ranger District.  One of three such committees established by Congress in 1978, the group works on a full consensus basis to promote innovative approaches to range management and to provide incentives for excellence.

Members represent a broad cross section of interests including livestock grazing permit holders, California and Nevada wildlife agencies, the BLM Surprise Field Office, the Modoc National Forest, resource conservation districts, California and Nevada environmental groups, wildlife interests, sporting groups, timber interests and local government.

- Jeff Fontana, 7/27/07


BLM California News.bytes, issue 292


 
Last updated: 08-02-2007