Management of rangeland occurs on approximately 8.3 million acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado. Rangeland is a type of land, not a use. Composed of soil, water, air, flora, and fauna, rangeland resources generate many values, uses, and activities. Directly and indirectly, rangelands contribute environmentally, economically, and socially on local to global levels.
Rangelands provide protection to watersheds, quality water supplies, recreation, scenic beauty, and opportunities for enjoyment, relaxation, and solitude. Rangelands provide forage and habitat for many species of organisms, including insects, birds, wildlife, and wild horses by converting energy from the sun into food, fiber, and cover.
Rangeland also provides forage and habitat to domestic livestock. In Colorado, nearly 1,500 livestock operators are authorized grazing use on 2,500 grazing areas called allotments through an approved grazing permit/lease. Grazing is managed by the terms and conditions specified for each allotment on the permit/lease, e.g., kind and number of livestock, season of use, and amount of use permitted each grazing year.
Permit/leases are generally issued for a term of 10 years. When permits/leases expire, before being renewed they undergo a review for conformance with land use plans and compliance with environmental documentation requirements. An important part of the renewal process involves soliciting comments, interest, concerns, and resource information through public scoping. The public comments along with internal scoping and all other available information is used by BLM Field Managers to prioritize and rank permit/lease renewals for processing on a priority basis.