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Manuals, Data & Design Management, Data Use Examples

Examples of AIM Data in Use

Decision-makers use AIM information to improve management of many different areas.  These include environmental assessments for grazing permit authorizations within field offices, wildlife habitat assessments that may cross administrative boundaries, and all the way up to informing Congress of the status of the public lands in the US. How you use your data depends on management goals and the monitoring objectives that you identified in your Monitoring Design Worksheet (see the sidebar section of this page).

Below are several examples of how AIM data has been used for different areas and purposes. Each example had clear management goals and quantitative monitoring objectives that were able to be interpreted in order to make sound management decisions. 

Local 

Treatment Effectiveness 

Two types of vegetation monitoring are coordinated by the BLM. Implementation monitoring seeks to answer the question, “Did we do what we said we would do?”.  Effectiveness monitoring seeks to answer the question, “Were treatment and restoration projects effective?”.  While implementation monitoring is accomplished at the land use plan level, effectiveness monitoring is coordinated at the local project implementation level.  AIM is a powerful tool for treatment effectiveness monitoring.  For example, measuring ecosystem response to post-fire vegetation treatments allows the BLM to understand the consequences of management actions and to share this knowledge in a scientifically sound manner. Monitoring is the critical feedback loop that allows land managers to constantly improve land rehabilitation and restoration plans based on the new knowledge gained from field measurements. 

Examples:

Stream reclamation effectiveness following placer mining in Eastern Interior, Alaska

 

Grazing Authorization Renewal 

A key question for renewing grazing permits is whether the condition of the allotment meets management objectives, such as Land Health Standards.  AIM core indicator data can be used along with other data to address this question.  Additional information may also be needed, such as use-based monitoring, or condition monitoring for a specific area of the allotment (such as special status species habitat). 

Examples: 

Curtis Spring Grazing Permit Renewal — Factsheet and NEPA Documents 

Three Creeks Land Health Assessment and Evaluation 

Winecup-Gamble Complex Draft Land Health Assessment 

Regional 

Greater sage-grouse Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) 
 

BLM’s management of Greater sage-grouse habitats requires information across large populations as well as in specific habitat types.  Working with the NRCS, the BLM has increased the sampling density of the Landscape Monitoring Framework that utilizes the AIM terrestrial core indicators across the range of the Greater sage-grouse to increase our understanding of the status and condition of these habitats. Importantly, data collection is being driven by sage-grouse management questions, but these data are not limited to sage-grouse applications in the future. These same data can be used for other wildlife habitat questions and also for recreation, grazing, and reclamation success.  AIM terrestrial core indicator data is also being collected to complete the Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) and inform local decision-making. 

Examples: 

Site-scale habitat assessment example from Lakeview, OR 

 

Land Use Plan Effectiveness 
 

Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed in accordance with the intent of Congress as stated in Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. As required by FLPMA and BLM policy, the public lands must be managed in a manner that “protects the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archaeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use; and that recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands by encouraging collaboration and public participation throughout the planning process” (Land Use Planning Handbook). Land use plans are one of the primary mechanisms for guiding BLM activities to achieve our mission and goals.  AIM terrestrial and aquatics core indicators provide information about many land use plan objectives and thus whether land use plans are effective. 

Examples: 

Developing Quantifiable Management Objectives from Reference Conditions for Wadeable Streams in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska 

Land Use Plan Effectiveness Monitoring for Utah Rivers and Streams 

Monitoring to Assess Attainment of Land Health Standards related to Water Quality in the Green River District, Utah 

A Statewide Assessment of BLM-Managed Streams and Rivers in Idaho (full report)

A Statewide Assessment of BLM-Managed Streams and Rivers in Idaho (summary report)

Developing Quantifiable Management Objectives from Reference Conditions for Wadeable Streams in the Eastern Interior Field Office

Lotic AIM in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA Story Map, BLM Access Only) 

National 

Rangeland Resource Assessment/Western Rivers and Streams Assessment 
 

Due to the cross-program, cross-ecosystem relevance of AIM core indicators and methods, AIM is a useful tool for nationwide monitoring efforts. The public lands are facing increasingly complex and widespread environmental challenges that transcend traditional management boundaries. These challenges include managing wildfire; controlling weeds and insect outbreaks; providing for energy development and urban growth; and addressing pervasive impacts from the effects of climate change.  In partnership with other agencies including the NRCS and EPA, AIM is providing information to better address these challenges.   

Examples

BLM 2011 Rangeland Resource Assessment

National Lotic AIM Fact Sheet 

NRCS National Resources Inventory

Adaptive Monitoring in Support of Adaptive Management Rangelands Special Issue

Society for Rangeland Management Presentations

AIM Symposia at SRM annual meetings 

Two full-day AIM symposia have occurred during the annual meeting of the Society for Range Management, in 2015 and 2018.  Monitoring leads and partners spoke about their AIM efforts and how it informs management decisions.  Topics also included underpinning concepts of AIM such as maintaining information quality and integration with remote session. You can view the recordings of the 2015 presentations, the recordings of the 2018 presentations, the recordings of the 2020 presentations, the two playlists for the 2021 presentations: USDA-NRCS Grazingland Rational Resource Inventory: History and Current Applications and Adaptive Management for Adaptive Monitoring, and SRM 2022: Applying Long-Term Monitoring Data to Rangeland Science.