2015 Argenta Year-End monitoring Summary Available for Public Comment



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BATTLE MOUNTAIN, NV - A summary of first year monitoring results of a plan to ensure appropriate management of livestock grazing on the Argenta Allotment in Battle Mountain is available for public comment. The summary indicates that grazing on upland areas met the agreement's goals, while grazing on areas around creeks and seeps left less vegetation than intended.

The plan is part of a settlement agreement signed last June by ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the Argenta Allotment, which encompasses 331,518 acres, of which 141,689 acres are public land administered by the BLM.

The BLM temporarily closed nine of the 20 grazing use areas on the allotment in August 2014 to protect the range from drought conditions. Multiple appeals were filed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) by ranchers, referred to as “permittees” because they have permits that allow them to graze their cattle for a fee on public lands. 

In June 2015, an IBLA administrative law judge issued an order that dismissed the appeals and allowed for the BLM and ranchers to enter into an agreement that is designed as a three-year interim management initiative to improve the health of the allotment.

Grazing on upland areas met the agreement's sustainability goals of leaving a sufficient amount of grass for the plants to recover by the next grazing season. On the allotment's riparian areas, however, grazing did not meet the prescribed utilization levels set in the Settlement Agreement, which if repeated chronically could adversely affect plant vigor and riparian function. With two seasons left in the agreement's lifespan, time remains to complete actions planned to mitigate this issue in the future, such as moving cows around while they graze in riparian areas and installing fencing around some riparian areas. These recommendations and adjustments in 2016 will focus on a multipronged approach to limit livestock access and use of riparian areas, including:

• Low-stress stockmanship practices to control the distribution of livestock; 
• Use of low-moisture supplements, salt, and temporary water haul sites to control the distribution of livestock; 
• Development of a rotational grazing system to control the duration, timing and frequency of grazing in all riparian areas, and to especially limit hot-season grazing in some riparian areas; 
• Development of a more rigorous within-season monitoring plan to better time mid-season livestock moves; 
• Installation of range improvements to restrict livestock access to important riparian areas to permit accelerated recovery of riparian conditions and restoration of riparian functions.

Written comments on the summary will be accepted until 4:30pm, April 6, 2016. The report can be viewed on the BLM Battle Mountain District website at: http://on.doi.gov/1v7bR1z.

Comments may be submitted by email to blm_nv_argentareport2016@blm.gov or to the Battle Mountain District Office at 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.