Bureau of Land Management approves grazing plan amendment for Sonoran Desert National Monument

PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published the Approved Resource Management Plan Amendment for livestock grazing in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. Under the approved resource management plan amendment, the monument’s six livestock grazing allotments, all located north of Interstate 8, are available for responsible permitted livestock grazing.  

The extent of grazing will be set during implementation stage planning and will be based on resource monitoring data as well as public input. The approved resource management plan amendment sets a range from ephemeral use only to a maximum 4,232 perennially authorized animal month units across all six of the allotments. (An animal unit month is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf for a month.)  

“The approved plan amendment is a culmination of research, analysis and public input that has led to a decision that meets the multiple-use mission of the BLM and addresses the court remand,” said BLM Phoenix District Manager Leon Thomas. “The amended resource management plan allows for balanced resource management today and allows land mangers the flexibility of decision-making based on conditions on the ground in the future.”  

The resource management plan amendment was completed in response to a 2016 U.S. District Court decision that remanded a portion of the 2012 Sonoran Desert National Monument Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision back to the BLM. The Court ordered the BLM to complete a new land health evaluation and grazing compatibility determination for the Sonoran Desert National Monument under the National Environmental Policy Act and incorporate those decisions into an amended resource management plan.   

On July 9, 2020, the BLM published the proposed resource management plan amendment and final environmental assessment which considered the potential impacts of four alternatives, including the selected alternative. During a subsequent 30-day protest period, the BLM received two valid protests to the proposed resource management plan and final environmental assessment, which were addressed in a protest resolution report. 

The decision record for the approved resource management plan amendment and all other relevant documents are available on the project website located at: https://go.usa.gov/xwNNS.

For more information on livestock grazing on public lands, please visit https://go.usa.gov/xGnYJ

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.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Phoenix District Office


Mariela Castaneda, Public Affairs Specialist