U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
October 26, 2010
In Reply Refer To:
1734/4400 (220) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 11/03/2010
Information Bulletin No. 2011-004
To: All Field Officials
Attn: Deputy State Director for Resources and all Field/District Office Managers
From: Division Chief, Division of Rangeland Resources
Subject: Rangeland Interagency Ecological Site Manual – BLM Manual 1734-1
In June 2010, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (FS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) approved the first Rangeland Interagency Ecological Site Manual (RIESM). This manual can be found at the following website (hosted by NRCS):
Implementation of this policy will standardize the way rangeland ecological sites are defined, delineated, classified, and described. Within the BLM, ecological sites are defined as units of a potential vegetation classification of landscapes and are delineated and described at a small spatial scale. The standardizing of ecological sites with this policy will complement and inform existing standardization of Biophysical Settings (BpS), which are units of the other potential vegetation classification of landscapes used in BLM and are delineated and described at a larger spatial scale. This policy will facilitate the stratification of rangeland landscapes according to their ability to respond similarly to ecological stressors. The BLM, FS, and NRCS will work cooperatively with other Federal, state, and local agencies, organizations, and academia to further develop and implement this RIESM.
Background: A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on May 12, 2005, by NRCS, USFS, and BLM national leadership for the purpose of developing a common interagency policy to define, delineate, classify, and describe ecological sites. In accordance with the MOU, a Federal Interagency Team developed the Rangeland Interagency Ecological Site Manual (RIESM), defining the interagency policy to cooperatively identify and define rangeland ecological sites for use in the inventory, monitoring, evaluation, and management of the Nation’s rangelands.
NRCS implemented Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD) in 1997 replacing Range Sites and Woodland Suitability Groups. The ESDs are a basic source of information for plant community information of rangelands and pasture lands. The BLM has used Range Sites (developed by NRCS) since the 1980’s and Ecological Site Descriptions since 1997 in conjunction with soil surveys with BLM’s Ecological Site Inventory method. New advances in technology will allow agencies to map and interpret information to predict outcomes with various management actions.
A Rangeland Interagency Ecological Site handbook is currently being developed that will provide more details to implement this RIESM. In addition, future training workshops are being planned on how agencies will be involved with the development of ESD interpretations.
The associated manual transmittal sheet is attached.
Any questions pertaining to this manual should be directed to Bob Bolton, Senior Rangeland Management Specialist at (202) 912-7204, or Bob Boyd, Soil, Water and Air Program lead at (202) 912-7137.
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Robert D. Roudabush Robert M. Williams
Division Chief Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
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