Local BLM staff named Outstanding Rangeland Management Specialist



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LA JARA, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Melissa Shawcroft has received the 2012 Colorado Outstanding Rangeland Management Specialist Award. The BLM’s national office recognized Shawcroft Feb. 8, for her outstanding contributions in rangeland management on public lands at the Society for Range Management’s annual convention in Oklahoma City. Lynda Boody, BLM’s Division Chief for Forests, Rangeland, Riparian and Plant Conservation, presented the award.

“Melissa’s work ethic and dedication to her job are unparalleled,” said Andrew Archuleta, BLM San Luis Valley Field Manager. “Her professionalism has helped her maintain positive working relationships with the BLM’s permittees throughout south-central Colorado.”

Shawcroft is responsible for managing rangeland resources on public lands in the southern portion of the San Luis Valley. This area stretches more than 50 miles and encompasses nearly 250,000 acres. Shawcroft administers about 45 grazing permits on 70 separate grazing allotments across Alamosa, Conejos and Rio Grande counties.

"Melissa is particularly dedicated to the rangeland health of the congressionally-designated Rio Grande Natural Area, working to identify and mitigate the impacts of trespass grazing within the Rio Grande corridor," said Archuleta. 

As the San Luis Valley has continued to face severe drought, Shawcroft often works weekends and evenings to balance the BLM’s resource needs with those of permittees. For several years, Shawcroft has negotiated with permittees to voluntarily reduce their use so their grazing permits would not need to be formally changed.

Shawcroft is stationed at the La Jara location of the BLM San Luis Valley Field Office. Before coming to the BLM in 1992, she spent four summers as a seasonal with the U.S. Forest Service.

The BLM manages livestock grazing under the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act. Across Colorado, the BLM authorizes grazing on 7.8 million acres. These lands provide 2,400 separate grazing allotments and support more than 1,500 ranching operations in the state.

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.