Bureau of Land Management initiates public scoping for Sonoran Desert National Monument grazing amendment


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Phoenix District Office

Media Contact:

Mariela Castaneda, Public Affairs Specialist

PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on the preparation of a Resource Management Plan Amendment and associated Environmental Assessment for the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The updated EA is being conducted in response to a 2016 federal court order and will help determine whether portions of the Monument north of Interstate 8 will be available for permitted livestock grazing.

“Public scoping provides interested stakeholders an opportunity to highlight items they think the BLM should consider in our environmental analysis,” said District Manager Leon Thomas. “This input is critical as we prepare our grazing analysis for the Monument.”

The Sonoran Desert National Monument, located approximately 60 miles southwest of Phoenix, was established by presidential proclamation in January 2001. The proclamation directed the BLM to determine the compatibility of livestock grazing on Monument lands north of Interstate 8, which bisects the Monument. The BLM completed an RMP and Record of Decision for the Monument in 2012, which addressed grazing and other resource uses.

In 2016, the U.S. District Court in Arizona remanded a portion of the 2012 RMP and ROD back to the BLM in order to complete a new Land Health Evaluation and grazing compatibility determination for the Monument under the National Environmental Policy Act, and to incorporate those decisions into an amended RMP.

Publication of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register initiates a 30-day scoping period that will run through April 27, 2020. This scoping period allows interested parties to identify potential issues which the BLM may opt to include in the environmental analysis. 

The project maps and documents can be found at BLM’s ePlanning website. Public comments can be made directly on the ePlanning website or submitted via email to BLM_AZ_PDO_SDNMgrazing@blm.gov.

Before including any personal identifying information in a comment, be aware that this information may be made available to the public at any time. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

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.