IDAHO | Rangeland Management
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Lands meeting Standards

When range conservation specialists monitor or assess conditions, photos are one of the tools used to document those conditions. The photos below show examples of conditions that meet or show observable, measurable progress toward meeting Idaho Rangeland Health Standards.
The Standards are management and policy goals for ensuring healthy, functioning rangelands under the BLM's multiple use mission. They provide clear direction for public land users and for everyone accountable for their condition, and are specifically designed to improve the condition of upland vegetation and conditions in riparian areas.

Rangelands on which health standards are being achieved are the matrix for proper nutrient and hydrologic cycling, and proper energy flow, as well as protecting cultural resources and sustaining forage productivity and habitat for wildlife.  Lands where sub-Standard conditions exist do not function properly in one or more of these ways. 

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 upland conditions meeting Idaho Rangeland Health Standards (Jarbidge Field Office)

Watersheds help maintain ecological function by properly filtering, retaining, and releasing water as appropriate to soil type, vegetation, climate and landform.

At left | Vegetation cover protects soil from wind and water erosion, and captures water and nutrients.

red graphic dotClick here to view an upland site not meeting Standard 1



 riparian area meeting Idaho Rangeland Health Standards (Yearian Creek)

Functioning riparian-wetland areas control erosion, stabilize streambanks & shorelines, shade water areas to reduce their temperature, filter sediment, and help recharge groundwater.

At left | The stream channel has narrowed and deepened compared with conditions observed earlier at the site.  Restored vegetation on the streambank holds soil in place, which in turn dissipates the energy of flowing water, especially during high flow events (flooding and spring snowmelt).


 stream channelmeeting Idaho Rangeland Health Standards

Stream channels and floodplains dissipate the energy of high water flows and transport sediment. Healthy stream/floodplain areas allow water to move as they filter sediment and store water. 

At left | Compared with conditions observed at the site previously, aspen trees have regenerated, ground cover has increased, and channel characteristics have improved.  This photo was taken during the 2006 grazing season, three years after riparian management practices were put in place. 

  Native     Plants   
 healthy native plant community

Native plant communities ensure proper ecologic function and continued productivity and diversity of native vegetation.  Adequate litter and standing dead plant material protect the site and replenish soil nutrients. 

At left | Native forbs (flowering plants) and grasses are present with few (if any) invasive weeds.  Sagebrush, balsamroot and other natives are well-established and productive, serving as habitat and food for native wildlife. 

red graphic dotClick here to view a site not meeting Standard 4


an upland seeding meeting Idaho Rangeland Health Standards

Rangelands that have been seeded - to stabilize an area after wildfire, for example - may function to maintain ecological diversity, productivity and habitat for native species when meeting this Standard.

At left | In this healthy seeding, perennial species are not diminishing, noxious weeds are not increasing, and litter and standing dead plant material protect the site and are decomposing to replenish soil nutrients. 

red graphic dotClick here to view a seeded area not meeting Standard 5


an area dominated by native vegetation with few exotic plant species

Where exotic (non-native) plants are present, soils are stable and native and seeded plants are holding against invasives until perennial native vegetation can be rehabilitated.

At left | Native plants are numerous and vigorous enough to reproduce and maintain a viable native community, despite the presence of some exotic vegetation. 

red graphic dotClick here to view an area not meeting Standard 6


a stream that meets Rangeland Health Standard for water quality

Native fish and amphibians need particular water temperatures and sediment loads to utilize a stream or lake as habitat.

At left | This waterway meets physical, chemical and biologic parameters established by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality's water quality standards. 

red graphic dotClick here to view a stream not meeting Standard 7


sage-steppe rangeland providing adequate food and cover for dependent species

Conservation of wildlife habitat naturally accompanies healthy ecological conditions, but having a Standard specific to sensitive wildlife acknowledges the additional statutory, regulatory and policy responsibilities associated with managing plants and animals that are threatened or endangered.

At left | Sagebrush in healthy condition offers hiding and nesting cover for sage-grouse and other animal species like the pygmy rabbit that utilize the area as habitat.  Understory forbs and grasses support insects which sage-grouse, migratory birds, pygmy rabbits and other species eat.

The site also meets Standard 4 (see above), which looks for healthy, productive and diverse native plant communities. 

red graphic dotClick here to view sagebrush habitat not meeting Standard 4 or 8

Last updated: 08-26-2013