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                                                                   May 21, 2012                        
In Reply Refer To:
1600, 1700, 4000, 4100, 4400, 6000, 6500, 6600, 7100, 7200, 7300 (200) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-124
Expires:  09/30/2013 
To:             All Field Offices (except Eastern States)
From:         Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:     Implementation of Land Health Reporting Data Standard:  A New Standardized System for Reporting and Mapping Achievements in Land Health
Program Areas:     Resource Management Planning; Renewable Resource Improvement and Treatments; Range Management; Standards and Guidelines for Grazing Administration; Rangeland Inventory Monitoring and Evaluation; Wildlife Management; Fish Wildlife and Special Status Plant Resources Inventory and Monitoring; Soil Resource Management; Water Resources; Air Resources
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) transmits the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) digital geospatial data standard for reporting and mapping land health data, implementing a new standardized way to map and report achievements and non-achievements of Land Health Standards.
Policy/Action: The Land Health Reporting Data Standard Report and the Domains specific to Land Health Reporting and Mapping are found in Attachments 1 and 2 of this IM. All Field Offices must use this standard when reporting the results of land health evaluations. 
  • Field Offices are required to examine the existing land health evaluations that have been conducted at the allotment or watershed level, and if possible, retrofit the current land health reporting categories to the new land health reporting categories, by each individual Land Health Standard. Field Offices are required to map the new land health reporting categories for each individual Land Health Standard. 
  • Effective immediately, all new land health evaluations must be categorized to the new land health reporting categories.  
Current land health reporting categories, and the replacement land health reporting and mapping categories can be found in Attachment 3. The implementation guidelines for this policy/action can be found in Attachment 6.
Land health geodatabases have been created for field offices to use to conduct mapping of land health achievements and non-achievements. Eighteen land health geodatabases are available, each of which has been customized to operate for a set of Land Health Standards that exists for each Administrative State or Resource Advisory Council area. Attachment 4 lists the 18 land health geodatabases. The land health geodatabases, and instructions outlining how to operate them can be found in Attachment 5.
Each Field Office must maintain its respective land reporting and mapping data. There is no requirement to submit the land health reporting and mapping data to a national dataset.
Timeframe:  The Land Health Reporting data standard is effective immediately. 

Budget Impact:  Workload associated with implementing this new standardized land health reporting and mapping must be accommodated within existing budgets at the Field Office/District Office/State Office level.  Budget impact is expected to vary between offices but will generally be low as the mapping step is added to the current land health assessment and evaluation processes. Standardized mapping and data standards will accommodate State and National reports, significantly reducing or eliminating current data calls to the field needed to report land health achievement. Planning processes should be improved as this spatial data becomes available.

Background: The Land Health Reporting Data Standard is intended to provide consistent data in reporting the current status of land health on BLM-administered surface lands and standardizes mapping and reporting land health achievements and non-achievements, providing an improved way of reporting land condition, and trend in that condition over time. Reporting land health achievements and non-achievements will replace seral status of plant communities, which is the BLM’s current way of reporting condition and trend-in-condition over time. Seral status of plant communities, by itself, is no longer comprehensive enough to reflect land condition and is no longer supported by science for that purpose. Implementing this data standard will satisfy the BLM’s condition reporting mandate in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978.

This data standard will increase accuracy of land health reporting. Currently, acreages of entire allotments are the basis for reporting land health achievements and non-achievements. Spatial polygons and linear features, in acres and miles respectively, will be reported under this data standard, allowing for more accurate portrayal of land health achievements and non-achievements.

This data standard will create a spatial component to land health reporting. Neither the seral status reporting nor current reporting has a spatial component. The BLM cannot show where—on the ground—the reported conditions are. The ability to map land health achievements and non-achievements will increase the BLM’s accountability, improve Congress’ and the public understanding of land conditions, as well as improve the BLM’s land use planning by providing current resource condition information.

This new reporting process will standardize electronic storage of land health achievement and non-achievement data, allowing the discontinuation of land health data calls to the field. Land health achievement and non-achievement data will be stored in geodatabases that can be queried for reporting, thereby discontinuing the need for data calls.

The new standardized method of reporting and mapping land health achievements and non-achievements has been pilot-tested in 13 Field /District Offices including Kremmling, Colorado; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Safford, Sonoran Desert National Monument, and Arizona Strip, Arizona; Cedar City and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah; Challis, Idaho; Cody, Newcastle, and Lander, Wyoming; and Burns and Prineville, Oregon.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Manual 1283 Data Administration, Manual 1601 Land Use Planning, H-1601-1 Land Use Planning Handbook, Manual 1734 Inventory and Monitoring Coordination, Manual 1740 Renewable Resource Improvements and Treatments, H-1740-2 Integrated Vegetation Management Handbook, Manual 4180 Land Health, H-4180-1 Rangeland Health Standards Handbook, Manual 4400 Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring, and Evaluation, and H-4400-1 Rangeland Monitoring and Evaluation Handbook.

Coordination: This IM has been coordinated with WO-200, OC-530, LLAZA00000, LLAZG01000, LLAZP04000, LLCON02000, LLIDI03000, LLNMP02000, LLORB00000, LLORP00000, LLUT030000, LLUTC01000, LLWYP08000, LLWYR02000 and LLWYR05000.

Contact: Questions related to this IM may be directed to Michael “Sherm” Karl, Rangeland Management Specialist, OC-570, at 303-236-0166, or Richard (Dick) Mayberry, Rangeland Management Specialist, WO-220, at 202-912-7229. Questions related to Land Health geodatabase assistance may be directed to Tom Chatfield, BLM Data Architect, OC-530, at 303-236-1936.
Signed by:                                                                 Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                                    Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                      Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
6  Attachments

Last updated: 05-29-2012