Last updated:

Bureau of Land Management
For Release: Friday, January 30, 2004
Contacts:
Celia Boddington
(202) 452-5128
Molly Brady
(202) 452-7714
 

BLM, Public Lands Council Sign Agreement
to Promote Cooperative Monitoring of Rangeland Conditions

PHOENIX, Arizona -- The Bureau of Land Management and Public Lands Council today signed an agreement that will promote cooperative monitoring of public rangeland conditions. The purpose of the agreement is to help stabilize grazing on BLM-managed lands and help achieve desired conditions on public rangelands in the years to come.

The agreement, known as a Memorandum of Understanding, was signed in Phoenix by BLM Deputy Director Jim Hughes and K.L. Bliss, President of the Public Lands Council (PLC), which is affiliated with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The signing took place during the 2004 Annual Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, held at the Phoenix Civic Plaza.

Deputy Director Hughes hailed the agreement, which he said reflects the BLM’s effort to improve its working relationships with public land grazing permit and lease holders. “This agreement will enhance our Agency’s work in collecting and interpreting information on rangeland conditions using the latest scientific techniques,” Hughes said. “This will result in better stewardship of lands that are crucial for open space and wildlife habitat in the rapidly growing West.”

PLC President Bliss was also pleased with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). “Ranchers are the best stewards of the land,” said Bliss. “It is important to get them as involved as possible in grazing allotment management. The MOU will advance this goal and will also improve rangeland health.”

Under the MOU signed today, the BLM will, among other things, work in coordination with grazing permittees and lessees in developing monitoring plans for specific grazing allotments. For its part, the Public Lands Council will, along with other actions, encourage public land ranchers to work cooperatively with the BLM in developing such plans.

The BLM manages 261 million acres of public land, of which about 160 million are open to livestock grazing. The Bureau administers more than 18,000 grazing permits and leases that are held by livestock operators across the West.

The BLM recently published proposed regulatory changes aimed at improving grazing management and helping public lands grazing continue in the rural West. The rulemaking proposal, along with a related Draft Environmental Impact Statement, can be accessed on the BLM’s national Web site (www.blm.gov). The public comment period on the two documents closes on March 2.