Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring Strategy

AIM AK Terra

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The objective of the Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) Strategy is to provide a standardized monitoring strategy for assessing natural resource condition and trend on BLM public lands. The AIM Strategy provides quantitative data and tools to guide and justify policy actions, land uses, and adaptive management decisions. 

AIM is…

  • Structured implementation to guide monitoring program development, implementation, and data use for decision makers
  • Standardized field measurements to allow data comparisons through space and time in support of multiple management decisions
  • Appropriate sample designs to minimize bias and maximize inference of collected data
  • Data management and stewardship to ensure data quality, accessibility, and use
  • Integration with remote sensing to optimize sampling and calibrate continuous map products
  • Standard workflows and analysis frameworks for using data. 

Example management questions addressed by AIM:

  • Are management areas attaining BLM Land health Standards?
  • What is the distribution of invasive species and where can prioritization of treatment areas occur?
  • What is the effectiveness of reclamation or restoration treatments?
  • Are we maintaining or improving habitat conditions for species of management concern (e.g., greater sage-grouse, native fishes, and mule deer habitat)?
  • What is the effectiveness of land use plans?
  • What is the existing condition and trend of resources that may be affected by a proposed action?  Is BLM meeting performance measures outlined in the Department of the Interior Strategic Plan?

    Structured Implementation

    AIM monitoring starts with identifying clear management questions to inform when, where, and how often to collect data. This and all other steps of AIM implementation are supported by a network of subject matter experts including State Leads, Monitoring Coordinators, and the BLM National Operations Center. Collectively, the AIM Team provides practitioner support with:

    • Contracting support for field crew hiring and other services
    • Monitoring plan development
    • Identification and implementation of appropriate sample designs
    • Field methods training
    • Data collection, storage, and access solutions
    • Data quality assurance and control procedures
    • Analysis and reporting tools and support

    Standardized Methods

    AIM field methods were developed by a network of BLM experts and partners. The objectives were to ensure usable and defensible data for the BLM, while also standardizing monitoring efforts across agencies and jurisdictions. These dual objectives were achieved by adopting field methods used and tested by multiple agencies and partners throughout the western U.S. and Alaska.

    • Terrestrial – Designed for upland habitats, the terrestrial methods provide comprehensive information on rangeland vegetative and soil conditions.
    • Lotic – Designed to provide quantitative data for wadeable streams and rivers across all BLM lands.
    • Riparian and Wetland – Designed for riparian areas, floodplains, and wetlands, the Riparian and Wetland data bridge the information gap between terrestrial and lotic areas. The newest addition to the program, the Riparian and Wetland data collection protocol was piloted in 2019 with expansion in 2020-21.
      • Example indicators derived from field methods: Bare ground, vegetation composition, soil characterization, vegetation height, water source, pH, conductivity

    Appropriate Sample Designs

    BLM is actively using the AIM Strategy to inform management decisions at multiple spatial scales from individual restoration projects on up to national level reporting. The AIM Team at the BLM’s National Operations Center provides technical support for the development of appropriate sample designs to match monitoring objectives from targeted sampling to spatially balanced, random sampling.

    AIM flowchart

    Data Management and Stewardship

    AIM data are collected using mobile applications, stored in a centralized BLM repository and available to users via web portals and spatial data services. Mobile applications allow for greater integration of QA & QC practices while also making data available quickly. Centralized data storage gives users the ability to analyze AIM data independently or with developed tools supplied by the program.

    View and access AIM data


    Integration with Remote Sensing

    Available remote sensing datasets are another way that AIM data informs land-management decision-making.  For example, LANDFIRE products map vegetation types and many fire-related landscape attributes (  Fractional vegetation cover maps are increasingly available as well, including RAP (, LandCART ( ), RCMAP Viewer (, Near-Real-Time Cheatgrass (, and more.  Practical advice for applying these products in decision-making is available from Allred et al. 2020 and BLM TN456. 

    Rapid advancement of remote sensing technology combined with on the ground AIM data provides land managers with tools related to:

    • Bird’s eye view of vegetation cover
    • Landscape trend analyses and monitoring
    • Sagebrush availability for sage grouse habitat mapping
    • Treatment effectiveness modeling
    • Remapping efforts of nationwide landscape datasets


    AIM Resources                                    (Manuals and Data Use Examples)

    AIM Training

    AIM Landscape Toolbox


    Congratulations! The BLM Assessment, Inventory & Monitoring team at the National Operations Center was honored with a 2022 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri User Conference. The annual award recognizes the outstanding use of, and leadership in, the field of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The BLM was the sole federal agency among this year's recipients. You can read the ESRI article here

    AIM SAG Award Chris D, Doug B, Melissa D, Logan S
    Chris Dietrich, Doug Browning, Melissa Dickard, and Logan Shank receiving the 2022 SAG award at the ESRI Conference.


    HQ AIM Coordinators
    Emily Kachergis
    Zoe Davidson

    AIM Section Chief
    Melissa Dickard

    Riparian & Wetland AIM Lead
    Lindsay Reynolds

    Lotic AIM Lead
    Nicole Cappuccio

    Terrestrial AIM Lead
    Aleta Nafus

    Monitoring Data Coordinator
    Chris Dietrich

    Remote Sensing Specialist
    Shannon Savage


    Jornada – ARS, NMSU
    NAMC – USU
    CSU - CNHP

    Intro to AIM Strategy

    AIM Factsheet

    AIM Factsheet 2022