The Nevada Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC), as
chartered by the Department of the Interior to promote healthy
rangelands, has developed Standards and Guidelines for grazing
administration on about 16.2 million acres of public lands and Standards
and Guidelines for maintaining healthy wild horse and burro herds on
Herd Management Areas (HMA’s) administered by the Bureau of Land
Management within the designated geographic area of the Northeastern
Great Basin. The RAC in
developing these Standards and Guidelines, understands and agrees that
grazing and wild horses and
burros are two of the
multiple uses recognized under the Federal Land Policy and Management
Act (FLPMA) of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1739, 1740).
The RAC recognizes the limited management options currently
available for wild horses and burros.
Unlike domestic stock that can be husbanded and controlled
regularly, or wildlife that can be controlled through sport harvest,
free-roaming wild horses and burros must be managed by capture and
adoption or placement in sanctuaries to achieve a sustainable
relationship with land and resources year-round.
The RAC in recommending these Standards and Guidelines urges the
Bureau to aggressively implement the management strategies to
expeditiously establish, achieve and maintain Appropriate Management
Level’s (AML’s) of wild
horses and burros within HMA’s and remove them from outside HMA’s.
These recommended Standards and Guidelines reflect the stated
goals of improving rangeland health while providing for the viability of
the livestock industry, all
wildlife species and wild horses and burros in the Northeastern Great
RAC’S INTENDED USE OF STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
Standards and Guidelines will be implemented through terms and
conditions of grazing permits, leases, and other authorizations,
grazing-related portions of activity plans (including Allotment
Management Plans), and through range improvement-related activities.
Standards and Guidelines for wild horses and burros will be implemented through control of population levels within established HMA’s, related portions of activity plans (including Allotment Management Plans), and through range restoration related activities. Wild Horse and Burro herd management practices should consider both economic and physical environment and will address all multiple uses including, but not limited to recreation, minerals, cultural resources, wildlife, domestic livestock, community economics, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, designated wilderness and wilderness study areas (WSAs).
The RAC anticipates that in most cases the Standards and
Guidelines themselves will not be terms and conditions of various
authorizations but that the terms and conditions will reflect the
Standards and Guidelines.
RAC intends that the Standards and Guidelines will result in a balance
of sustainable development and multiple use along with progress towards
attaining healthy, properly functioning rangelands and
healthy wild horse and burro herds.
For that reason, wording has been adopted in this final rule that
will require the authorized officer to take appropriate action upon
determining the existing management practices are failing to ensure
significant progress toward the fulfillment of the Standards and towards
conformance with the guidelines.
The RAC intends that assessments and corrective actions will be
undertaken in priority order as determined by BLM.
The BLM will use a variety of data including monitoring records,
assessments, and knowledge of the locale to assist in making the
“significant progress” determination.
It is anticipated that in many cases it will take numerous
seasons to determine direction and magnitude of trend.
However, actions will be taken to establish significant progress
toward conformance as soon as sufficient data are available to make
informed changes relative
to numbers of wild horses and burros, herd management decisions and
Upland soils exhibit infiltration and permeability rates that are
appropriate to soil type, climate and land form.
As indicated by:
are canopy and ground cover, including litter, live vegetation and rock,
appropriate to the potential of the site.
management and wild horse and burro population levels are appropriate
when in combination with other multiple uses they
maintain or promote upland vegetation and other organisms and provide
for infiltration and permeability rates, soil moisture storage, and soil
stability appropriate to the ecological site within management units.
grazing management and wild horse and burro herd management alone
are not likely to restore areas of low infiltration or permeability,
land management treatments should be designed and implemented where
grazing management and wild horse and burro herd management are adequate when significant
progress is being made toward this standard.
See Appendix C(a) for additional guidelines for vegetation management.
RIPARIAN AND WETLAND SITES:
Riparian and wetland areas exhibit a properly functioning
condition and achieve state water quality criteria.
side riparian areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation,
large woody debris, or rock is present to dissipate stream energy
associated with high water flows. Elements
indicating proper functioning condition such as avoiding accelerating
erosion, capturing sediment, and providing for groundwater recharge and
release are determined by the following measurements as appropriate to
the site characteristics:
ratio; Channel roughness; Sinuosity of stream channel; Bank stability;
Vegetative cover (amount, spacing, life form); and Other cover (large
woody debris, rock).
springs, seeps, and marsh areas are functioning properly when adequate
vegetation is present to facilitate water retention, filtering, and
release as indicated by plant species and cover appropriate to the site
physical and biological water constituents are not exceeding the state
water quality standards.
Livestock grazing management and wild horse and burro population levels
will maintain or promote sufficient vegetation cover, large woody
debris, or rock to achieve proper functioning condition in riparian and
wetland areas. Supporting
the processes of energy dissipation, sediment capture, groundwater
recharge, and stream bank stability will thus promote stream channel
morphology (e.g., width/depth ratio, channel roughness, and sinuosity)
appropriate to climate, landform, gradient, and erosional history.
grazing management and wild horse and burro herd management
not likely to restore riparian and wetland sites, land management
treatments should be designed and implemented where appropriate to the
management and wild horse and burro herd management will maintain,
restore or enhance water quality and ensure the attainment of water
quality that meets or exceeds state standards.
management and wild horse and burro herd management are adequate when
significant progress is being made toward this standard.
See Appendix c(a) for additional guidelines for vegetation management.
Habitats exhibit a healthy, productive, and diverse population of
native and/or desirable plant species, appropriate to the site
characteristics, to provide suitable feed, water, cover and living space
for animal species and maintain ecological processes.
Habitat conditions meet the life cycle requirements of threatened
and endangered species.
As indicated by:
Vegetation composition (relative abundance of species);
Vegetation structure (life forms, cover, heights, or age classes)
Vegetation distribution (patchiness, corridors);
Vegetation productivity; and Vegetation nutritional value.
Livestock grazing management and wild horse and burro population levels
will promote the conservation,
restoration and maintenance of habitat for threatened and endangered
species, and other special status species as may be appropriate.
Livestock grazing intensity, frequency, season of use and distribution
and wild horse and burro population levels
should provide for growth and reproduction of those plant species needed
to reach long-term land use plan objectives.
Measurements of ecological condition and trend/utilization will
be in accordance with techniques identified in the
Livestock grazing management
Where livestock grazing management and wild horse and burro herd management
alone are not likely to achieve habitat objectives, land treatments may
be designed and implemented as appropriate.
When native plant species adapted to the site are available in
sufficient quantities, and it is economically and biologically feasible
to establish or increase them to meet management objectives, they will
be emphasized over non-native species.
Livestock grazing management and wild horse and burro herd management
are adequate when significant progress is being made toward this
See Appendix C(a) for additional guidelines for vegetation management.
use plans will recognize cultural resources within the context of
Rangeland management plans will consider listings of known sites
that are National Historic Register eligible or considered to be of
cultural significance and new eligible sites as they become known.
Wild horse and burro herd management will be designed to avoid or
mitigate damage to significant cultural resources.
HEALTHY WILD HORSE AND BURRO POPULATIONS:
Wild horses and burros exhibit characteristics of a healthy, productive,
and diverse population. Age
structure and sex ratios are appropriate to maintain the long term
viability of the population as a distinct group.
Herd management areas are able to provide suitable feed, water,
cover and living space for wild horses and burros and maintain historic
patterns of habitat use.
As indicated by:
rangelands that provide sufficient quantities and quality of forage and
water to sustain the appropriate management level on a year long basis
within a herd management area.
horses and/or burros managed on a year-long basis for a condition class
greater than or equal to five to allow them normal chances for survival
in the winter (See glossary
for equine body conditioning definitions).
adoptable wild horses and burros that are readily available from herd
horse and burro herds that exhibit appropriate age structure and sex
ratio for short and long term genetic and reproductive health.
Implement the objectives outlined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses
and Burros Tactical Plan for
Manage for wild horses and/or burros in herd management areas
based on the capability of the HMA to provide suitable feed, water,
cover and living space for all multiple uses.
Set appropriate Management Levels based on the most limiting
habitat factor (eg. available water, suitable forage, living space and
cover) in the context of multiple use.
Manage herd management area populations to preserve and enhance
physical and biological characteristics that are of historical
significance to the herd.
Manage wild horse and burro herds for short and long term
increases and to enhance adoptability by ensuring that wild horses and
burros displaying desirable traits are preserved in the herd thus
providing a reproductive base to increase highly adoptable horses and
burros for future demands.
Identify and preserve historic traits and characteristics within
the herd which have proven to be highly desirable by the adoption public
to increase the long term availability of animals bearing these
Wild horse and burro selective removal criteria are modified on a
per herd basis to correct deficiencies in population age and sex ratios
which threaten short and long term genetic diversity and reproductive
Definitions are taken from "A Glossary of Terms Used in Range
Management" developed through the Society for Range Management.
If a definition has been slightly modified it is marked with an
*. Other definitions are from Grazing Administration Regulations Code of
Federal Regulations, Chapter 43, Sec. 4100.0-5 or Bureau of Land
Management Technical Reference. Definitions
also include meanings that were developed by the Northeastern Great
Basin Resource Advisory Council to understand their intent in the
Standards and Guidelines.
- Refers to living components of an
ecosystem, e.g., plants and animals.
- (1) The vertical projection
downward of the aerial portion of vegetation, usually expressed as a
percent of the ground so occupied. (2)
The aerial portion of the overstory vegetation.
Cover - The percentage of ground
covered by a vertical projection of the outermost perimeter of the natural
spread of foliage of plants. Small
openings within the canopy are included.
- The average or prevailing weather
conditions of a place over a period of years.
- The use and management of natural
resources according to principles that assure their sustained economic
and/or social benefits without impairment of environmental quality.
(Grazing) - Dispersion of grazing
animals within a management unit or area.
Site - The kind of land with a
specific potential natural community and specific physical site
characteristics, differing from other kinds of land in its ability to
produce vegetation and to respond to management.
- Refers to the soil.
Equine body conditioning -
2. Very Thin.
Emaciated; slight fatty covering over base of spinal processes;
transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded; spinal processes,
ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae and ischii prominent; withers, shoulders, and
neck structure faintly discernible.
Fat buildup about halfway on spinal processes; transverse processes
cannot be felt; slight fat covering over ribs; spinal processes and ribs
easily discernible; tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be
identified visually; tuber coxae appear rounded but easily discernible,
tuber ischii not distinguishable; withers, shoulders, and neck
4. Moderately Thin.
Slight ridge along back; faint outline of ribs discernible; tailhead prominence depends on
conformation – fat can be felt around it; tuber coxae not discernible;
withers, shoulders and neck not obviously thin.
Back is flat (no crease or ridge); ribs not visually
distinguishable but easily felt around tailhead and area beginning to feel
spongy; withers appear rounded over spinal processes; shoulders and neck
blend smoothly into body.
6. Moderately Fleshy.
May have slight crease down back; fat over ribs spongy; fat around
tailhead soft; fat beginning to be deposited along the side of withers,
behind shoulders, and along sides of neck.
May have crease down back; individual ribs can be felt, but
noticeable filling between ribs with fat; fat around tailhead soft; fat
deposited along withers, behind shoulders and along neck.
Crease down back; difficult to feel ribs; fat around tailhead very
soft; area along withers filled with fat; area behind shoulder filled with
fat; noticeable thickening of neck; fat deposited along inner thighs.
9. Extremely Fat.
Obvious crease down back; patchy fat appearing over ribs; bulging
fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders, and along neck; fat
along inner thighs may rub together, flank filled with fat.
- (v.) Detachment and movement of
soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice or gravity.
(n) The land surface worn away by running water, wind, ice, or
other geologic agents, including such processes as gravitational creep.
- An organism or species which is not
native to the region in which it is
*Grazing - For the
purposes of this document grazing refers to the removal of vegetation by
Cover - The percentage of material,
other than bare ground, covering the land surface.
It may include live and standing dead vegetation, litter, cobble,
gravel, stones and bedrock. Ground
cover plus bare ground would total 100 percent.
Water - Subsurface water that is in
the zone of saturation. The
top surface of the ground water is the "water table".
Source of water for wells, seepage, springs.
- Guidelines are livestock management
practices (e.g. tools, methods, strategies and techniques) designed to
achieve healthy public lands as defined by Standards and portrayed by
Indicators. Guidelines are
designed to provide direction, yet offer flexibility for local
implementation through activity plans and grazing permits.
Activity plans may add specificity to the Guidelines based on local
goals and objectives as provided for in adopted manuals, handbooks and
policy. Not all Guidelines fit
all circumstances. Monitoring
or site specific evaluation will determine if significant progress is
being made towards achieving the standards, and if the appropriate
guidelines are being applied.
- The natural abode of a plant or
animal, including all biotic, climatic, and edaphic factors affecting
Herd Area - means the
geographic area identified as having been used by a herd as its habitat in
Herd Management Area -
Herd Area or portion of a Herd Area that has been designated through the
planning process where horses and/or burros can be managed as a component
of the public lands.
- Indicators are observations or measurements of physical, chemical or
biological factors used to evaluate site conditions or trends, appropriate
to the potential of the site. Indicators
will be used to determine whether or not Standards are being met.
- The flow of a fluid into a
substance through pores or small openings.
It connotes flow into a substance in contradistinction to the word
Rate - Maximum rate at which soil
under specified conditions can absorb rain or shallow impounded water,
expressed in quantity of water absorbed by the soil per unit of time,
(Grazing) - A reference to grazing
density per unit of time.
Use Plan - Land use plan means a
resource management plan, developed under the provisions of 43 CFR part
1600, or management framework plan. These
plans are developed through public participation in accordance with the
provisions of the Federal Land Policy and
Management Act of 1976 and
establish management direction for resource uses of public lands. (43 CFR
- The uppermost layer of organic debris on the soil surface; essentially
the freshly fallen or slightly decomposed vegetal material.
Management Objective- The objectives for which rangeland and rangeland resources are managed which includes specified uses accompanied by a description of the desired vegetation and the expected products and/or values.
Plan - A program of action designed
to reach a given set of objectives.
- Flat, wet, treeless areas usually
covered by standing water and supporting a native growth of grasses and
- The orderly collection, analysis,
and interpretation of resource data to evaluate progress toward meeting
- The form and structure of an
organism, with special emphasis on external features.
Species - A species which is a part
of the indigenous fauna or flora of the area in question.
- The upper canopy or canopies of
plants. Usually refers to
trees, tall shrubs and vines.
- The flow of a liquid through a
Cover - (1) The plants or plant
parts, living or dead, on the surface of the ground.
Vegetative cover or herbage cover is composed of living plants and
litter cover of dead parts of plants.
(2) The area of ground cover by plants of one or more species.
Functioning Condition - Riparian-Wetland
areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation, land-form, or
large woody debris is present to dissipate stream energy associated with
high waterflows, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality;
filter sediment, capture bedload, and aid floodplain development; improve
flood-water retention and ground-water recharge; develop diverse ponding
and channel characteristics to provide the habitat and the water depth,
duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, waterfowl
breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity. [BLM Technical
Improvement - Range improvement means
an authorized physical modification or treatment which is designed to
improve production of forage; change vegetation composition; control
patterns of use; provide water; stabilize
soil and water conditions; restore,
protect and improve the condition of rangeland ecosystems to benefit
livestock, wild horses and burros, and fish and wildlife.
The term includes but is not limited to, structures, treatment
projects, and use of mechanical devices or modifications achieved through
- Referring to or relating to areas
adjacent to water or influenced by free water associated with streams or
rivers on geologic surfaces accupying the lowest position of a watershed.
- Wet areas, normally not flowing,
arising from an underground water source.
- (1) The unconsolidated mineral and
organic material on the immediate surface of the earth that serves as a
natural medium for the growth of land plants.
(2) The unconsolidated mineral matter on the surface of the earth
that has been subjected to and influenced by genetic and environmental
factors of parent material, climate (including moisture and temperature
effects), macro- and micro-organisms, and topography, all acting over a
period of time and producing a product - soil - that differs from the
material it was derived in many physical, chemical, biological, and
morphological properties and characteristics.
- A taxon or rank species; in the
hierarchy or biological classification, the category below genus.
Composition - The proportions of
various plant species in relation to the total on a given area.
It may be expressed in terms of cover, density, weight, etc.
Synonym Vegetative composition.
- Flowing water originating from an
- The direction of change in
ecological status or resource value rating observed over time.
Trend in ecological status should be described as toward,
or away from the potential
natural community, or as not
apparent. Trend in a
resource value rating for a specific use should be described as up,
down or not apparent.
Trends in resource value ratings for several uses on the same
site at a given time may be in different directions, and there is no
necessary correlation between trends in resource value ratings and trend
in ecological status. Some
agencies use trend only in the
context of ecological status.
Syn. range condition trend.
- The proportion of current year's
forage production that is consumed or destroyed by grazing animals.
May refer either to a single species or to the vegetation as a
- (1) A total area of land above a
given point on a waterway that contributes runoff water to the flow at
that point. (2) A major
subdivision of a drainage basin.
Wetlands - Areas characterized by soils that are usually saturated or ponded, i.e., hydric soils that support mostly water loving plants (hydrophytic plants).