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SLM LIBRARY 
I 




88051417 




United States Department of the Interior 
Bureau of Land Management 



May 1997 




Rangeland Health 

Standards and Guidelines 

for California and Northwestern Nevada 

Draft EIS 








SF 

85.35 

.C2 

R363 

1997 





BLM/CA/ES-97/007+41 00 



VJPrinted on recycled paper 




United States Department of the Interior 

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 
California State Office 
2135 Butano Drive 
Sacramento, California 95825 



Dear BLM Stakeholder: 

The Bureau of Land Management is pleased to present for your review and comment the draft 
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing four approaches to implement our 
cooperatively developed Standards for Healthy Rangelands and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing 
on public rangelands in California. Since these standards and guidelines are to be incorporated 
into existing BLM land use plans as plan amendments, a 90-day comment period is authorized. 

This DEIS reflects months of work and collaboration among BLM staff specialists from 
throughout California with members of our Resource Advisory Councils and other people who 
value healthy public rangelands. The proposed standards and guidelines are designed to provide 
a framework in which BLM and its stakeholders can cooperate to assure that our rangelands are 
healthy and productive for today's citizens and future generations. These standards and guidelines 
will enable us to achieve a balance of sustainable development and multiple use, and help us 
progress toward mamtaining or attaining healthy, properly functioning rangelands. 

Citizens serving on our advisory councils expended considerable time and effort developing the 
recommendations presented here. Their diligence in this effort and their concern for the health 
of the public lands are commendable. 

Your review and comments on this document are vital in the process to ensure that management 
of the public rangelands sustains the healthy natural resources on which we all depend. Please 
review the proposal and send in your comments before August 31, 1997. Comments should be 
mailed to: Bureau of Land Management, California State Office, 2135 Butano Drive, 
Sacramento, CA 95825, attention: Rangeland DEIS. 

Thank you for your continued interest in the management of our public rangelands. 



Sincerely, 

Ed Hastey 
State Director 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Table of Contents 

TABLE of CONTENTS * ,. 

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION \°\*[*] 

1.1 Background 1-2 

1 .2 Purpose and Need 1-3 

1 .3 Fundamentals of Rangeland Health 1-3 

1 .4 Standards and Guidelines: Basic Concepts 1-4 

1 .5 Process for Establishing Standards and Guidelines 1-5 

rr 

H 1 -6 Public Scoping, Issues 1-6 

O ^H CM 

LO Li! K m 

> O ^ o 1-7 Assumptions 1-7 

fX C , o oo 
< Q <r '-° 

EC _i ? CJ O 1 .8 Issues not Addressed 1-8 

CO CD m x o 

Zi < q O - 

»> o uj & ^ 1 .9 Analysis Area 1-8 

-J r- £ b > 

tr LLJ °- m 1 .10 California Desert Conservation Area 1-9 

> Q 

Uj 1 .1 1 Other Plans and NEPA Analysis 1-10 



Q 



1.12 Legal Framework 1-11 

CHAPTER 2: DESCRIPTION OF ALTERNATIVES 

2.1 Introduction 2-2 

2.2 Plan Amendments 2-2 

2.3 Water Quality -- Best Management Practices 2-2 

2.4 Implementation 2-2 

2.5 Alternative 1 : Standards & Guidelines proposed by the Resource Advisory 

Councils 2-5 

2.51 Bakersfield RAC Recommendation 2-5 

2.52 Ukiah RAC Recommendation 2-12 

2.53 Susanville RAC Recommendation 2-19 

2.3 Alternative 2: No Action (Fall-back Standards and Guidelines from the 

Regulations) 2-25 



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2.4 Alternative 3: State-wide Consistency / Consolidated Standards and 

Guidelines 2-29 

2.5 Alternative 4: Fast Recovery Standards and Guidelines 2-31 



CHAPTER 3: AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT 

3.1 General Setting 3-3 

3.1 .1 Landforms 3-3 

3.1 .2 Climate 3-4 

3.1 .3 Hydrology 3-4 

3.2 Grazing Management and Administration 3-5 

3.2.1 Allotments and Types of Operation 3-5 

3.2.2 Grazing Permits and Leases 3-6 

3.2.3 Range Improvements 3-7 

3.2.4 Grazing Systems 3-7 

3.2.5 Monitoring 3-9 

3.3 Uplands 3-16 

3.3.1 Soils 3-16 

3.3.2 Vegetation 3-19 

Annual Grasslands 3-19 

Vegetation Dynamics 3-21 

Sagebrush Steppe 3-25 

Salt Desert Scrub 3-29 

Juniper and Pinyon Woodlands 3-30 

Blackbush Scrub 3-31 

3.3.3 Upland Conditions and Trends 3-33 

3.4 Riparian-Wetlands and Stream Channels 3-38 

3.4.1 Overview 3-38 

3.4.2 Wetland-Riparian Vegetation 3-40 

3.4.3 Water Quality 3-43 

3.5 Wildlife 3-46 

3.5.1 Wildlife Communities 3-46 

3.5.2 Big Game 3-48 

3.5.3 Upland Game 3-51 

3.5.4 Riparian, Wetland, and Aquatic Communities 3-51 

3.6 Special Status Specfies 3-52 

3.7 Wild Horses and Burros 3-52 

3.8 Recreation 3-56 

3.9 Wilderness 3-57 



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' Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Table of Contents 



3.10 Cultural Resources 3-59 

3.10.1 Cultural Properties 3-59 

3.10.2 Traditional Lifeway Values 3-59 

3.1 1 Economic Conditions 3-61 

3.1 1 .1 The Western United States 3-61 

The Western Livestock Industry 3-61 

Western Employment and Income -- Regional Trends 3-62 

Western Ranch Income and Operations 3-62 

Permit Value in the Western United States 3-64 

Government Transfer Payments 3-64 

Western U.S. Federal Rangeland Management Revenues and Costs 3-65 

3.1 1 .2 State of California (and N.W. Nevada) 3-65 

California Employment and Income by Major Industry 3-66 

California Livestock Operations and Production 3-67 

Government Transfer Payments ~ PILT, Grazing Fees 3-68 

BLM Rangeland Management Program Expenses 3-68 

3.11.3 Principal BLM Grazing Program Counties 3-68 

County Geographic Size, Total Population and Population Density 3-70 

County Employment and Income 3-70 

Livestock Operations and Production 3-72 

Government Transfer Payments -- PILT, Grazing Fees 3-74 

Permit Value 3-76 

California Possessory Interest Tax 3-77 

Farm Real Estate Values 3-77 



CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES 

4.1 Introduction 4-3 

4.2 Impacts Common to All Alternatives 4-3 

4.2.1 Grazing Management 4-3 

4.2.2 Uplands 4-5 

4.2.2.1 Soils 4-5 

4.2.2.2 Vegetation 4-5 

Annual Grasslands 4-5 

Sagebrush Steppe 4-6 

4.2.3 Riparian-Wetlands and Stream Channels 4-7 

4.2.3.1 Overview 4-7 

4.2.3.2 Vegetation 4-8 

4.2.3.3 Riparian Hydrology and Water Quality 4-9 

4.2.4 Wildlife 4-10 

4.2.4.1 Wildlife Communities 4-10 

Annual Grassland Habitats 4-11 



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Table of Contents Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Sagebrush Steppe Habitats 4-11 

Juniper, Pinyon-Juniper 4-11 

Wetland/Riparian Habitats 4-12 

4.2.4.2 Big Game 4-12 

Mule Deer 4-12 

Elk 4-13 

Pronghorn 4-14 

4.2.4.3 Upland Game 4-14 

4.2.4.4 Fisheries 4-14 

4.2.5 Special Status Species 4-15 

Special Status Plant Species 4-15 

Special Status Animal Species 4-16 

4.2.6 Wild Horses and Burros 4-16 

4.2.7 Recreation 4-19 

4.2.8 Wilderness 4-19 

4.2.9 Cultural Resources 4-20 

Cultural Properties 4-20 

Traditional Lifeway Values 4-20 

4.3 Differences Between Alternatives 4-21 

4.3.1 Grazing Management 4-21 

Alternative 1 , The Proposed Action 4-21 

Alternative 2, State-wide Consistency/Consolidated Standards and 

Guidelines 4-23 

Alternative 3, No Action (Fall-Back Standards and Guidelines) . . . 4-23 

Alternative 4, Rapid Improvement/Rapid Recovery Alternative .... 4-24 

4.3.2 Uplands 4-26 

Soils 4-26 

4.3.3 Riparian-Wetlands and Stream Channels 4-26 

Water Quality 4-26 

4.3.4 Economic Conditions 4-28 

EIS Study Area Analysis 4-28 

Income and Employment Impacts 4-28 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing 4-29 

Possessory Interest Tax 4-29 

Permit and Real Estate Values: EIS Area 4-30 

Additional Permittee/Lessee Expenses 4-30 

BLM Range Management Program Cost Impacts 4-31 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Table of Contents 



Principal Grazing Counties 4-32 

Absentee Permittees and Grazing Program Impacts 4-35 

Permit and Real Estate Values: Principal Counties Region . 4-36 

Impacts on Individual Livestock Operations 4-36 

Economic Impact Analysis Closing Comments 4-37 



CHAPTER 5: CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 

5.1 Consultation 5-2 

5.2 Public Participation 5-2 

5.2.1 Resource Advisory Councils 5-2 

5.2.2 Scoping 5-3 

5.2.3 Distribution of Draft EIS 5-3 

5.2.4 Additional Actions 5-4 

5.3 List of Preparers 5-4 

5.3.1 Bakersfield RAC 5-4 

5.3.2 Ukiah RAC 5-4 

5.3.3 Susanville RAC 5-5 

5.3.4 Public Interest Groups, Agencies 5-5 

5.3.5 BLM Preparers ■ 5-5 



MAPS 



Map 1 -- Map of Public Lands in California and Nevada 

Map 2 -- Map Showing the RAC Areas -- Bakersfield, Ukiah, Susanville 

Map 3 -- Map Showing the EIS Analysis Area 

Map 4 - Map Showing CA Floristic Province and Great Basin Floristic Province 

Map 5 -- Map Showing 6 Regional Water Quality Basin Plans in the EIS Area 

Map 6 - Map of Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas in the EIS Area 

Map 7 -- Map Showing the Important Counties for Economic Analysis 



APPENDICES 

1. 
2. 
3. 
4, 
5. 

6. 



Rangeland Health Matrix 

List of Grazing EIS's in California 

Laws, Legal Mandates 

List of BLM Plans to be Amended 

Table Showing Allotments in each Resource 
Management Categories -- S, M, C 

Flow Chart for Implementation 



Area in the Different 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



7. 

3, 

9. 

10 

11 

12 

13 

14 

15 

16 

17 

1 



Range Condition and Trend Tables 

Best Management Practices for Water Quality -- California 

Best Management Practices for Water Quality - Nevada 

Livestock Grazing Portion of BLM Draft Water Quality Plan 

Special Status Plants 

Special Status Animals 

List of Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas 

Soils Standards - Comparison by Alternative for Adequacy 

Water Quality Standards -- Comparison by Alternative for Adequacy 

Guidelines -- Comparison by Alternative for Adequacy 

Explanation of Economic Analysis Methodology 

Chapter 4 Summary Table -- Side-by-side Comparison of Impacts 



REFERENCES 



GLOSSARY 



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Rang eland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 1 

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 

1.1 BACKGROUND Page 2 

1.2 PURPOSE AND NEED Page 3 

1.3 FUNDAMENTALS OF RANGELAND HEALTH Page 3 

1.4 STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES - BASIC CONCEPTS Page 4 

1.5 PROCESS FOR ESTABLISHING STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 5 

1.6 PUBLIC SCOPING, ISSUES Page 6 

1.7 ASSUMPTIONS Page 7 

1.8 ISSUES NOT ADDRESSED IN THE ANALYSIS Page 8 

1.9 ANALYSIS AREA Page 8 

1.10 CALIFORNIA DESERT CONSERVATION AREA Page 9 

1.11 OTHER PLANS AND NEPA ANALYSIS Page 10 

1.12 LEGAL FRAMEWORK Page 1 1 



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Chapter 1 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidel ines EIS 

1.1 BACKGROUND 

This environmental impact statement (EIS) is to develop standards and guidelines for grazing 
administration on public lands managed by the California State Office of the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), exclusive of the California Desert District; and to incorporate those 
standards and guidelines into existing land use plans. This area includes approximately 5.7 
million acres of public land in California and northwestern Nevada, of which about 4.4 million 
acres are grazed. The locations of these public land areas are shown on Map 1 . 

In 1 934, Congress passed the Taylor Grazing Act, directing that the occupancy and use of 
public rangelands be regulated to preserve the land and its resources from destruction or 
unnecessary injury, and to provide for the orderly use, improvement, and development of the 
range. Since passage of the Taylor Grazing Act, several studies and reports to Congress 
have identified continued problems on the western rangelands. In 1978, Congress enacted 
the Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA), and included the following findings in their 
report: 

(a) Rangelands were still producing below their potential; 

(b) Rangelands would remain in unsatisfactory condition or decline even further 
under the current levels of funding and management; and 

(c) The unsatisfactory condition of public rangelands presented a high risk for soil 
loss, siltation, desertification, water loss, loss of wildlife and fish habitats, loss 
of forage for livestock and other grazing animals, degradation of water quality, 
flood danger, and threats to local economies. 

Since passage of PRIA, conditions on most upland areas have improved, but many riparian 
areas continue to be degraded and are not functioning properly. 

In 1 991 , the Director of the Bureau of Land Management asked the agency's National Public 
Lands Advisory Council to recommend ways to improve BLM's rangeland management 
program. The council chartered a blue-ribbon panel of professional ecologists and rangeland 
managers, who produced a report entitled Rangeland-Proqram Initiatives and Strategies . In 
the report, they concluded that BLM's main objectives should be to protect the basic 
components of rangelands - soil, water, and vegetation - and that management goals should 
be based on modern ecological concepts. 

In 1 993, the BLM initiated a new effort, now known as "Rangeland Reform 94," to better 
enhance the environmental health of public rangelands. This initiative was aided by the 
publication in January 1 994 of a report entitled Rangeland Health: New Methods to Classify, 
Inventory and Monitor Rangelands . The report, published by the Committee on Rangeland 
Classification, Board of Agriculture, of the National Research Council (whose members are 
drawn from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the 
Institute of Medicine), contained clearly stated explanations of what rangeland health is, as 
well as criteria and indicators of rangeland health. It also discussed current assessment 
practices, and inventory and monitoring needs. 



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Ran geland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 1 

The "Rangeland Reform 94" initiative, through public involvement and a national EIS, provided 
the direction for BLM to carry out a rangeland management program that improves ecological 
conditions, while providing for sustainable development on the land. To support this 
management direction, in 1995, the Secretary of the Interior developed new grazing 
regulations to implement needed changes in BLM's rangeland management program. 

1.2 PURPOSE AND NEED 

As a result of the "Rangeland Reform 94" effort, the Secretary of the Interior issued a final rule 
for Grazing Administration, on February 22, 1995, that became effective August 21, 1995. 
Section 41 80.2 of this rule required the BLM State Directors to develop state or regional 
standards and guidelines for grazing administration in consultation with BLM Resource 
Advisory Councils (RACs), other agencies, and the public. The purpose of the standards and 
guidelines is indicated by the following quotations from the Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 35, 
page 9956, dated February 22, 1 995: 

The guiding principles for standards and guidelines require that State or regional 
standards and guidelines address the basic components of healthy rangelands. 

The Department intends that the standards and guidelines will result in a balance of 
sustainable development and multiple use along with progress towards attaining 
healthy, properly functioning rangelands. 

The Department believes that by implementing grazing-related actions that are 
consistent with the fundamentals of Subpart 4180.1 and the guiding principles of 
Subpart 4180.2, the long-term health of public rangelands can be ensured. 



1 .3 FUNDAMENTALS OF RANGELAND HEALTH 

The National Research Council, in its report, defines rangeland health as ". . . the degree to 
which the integrity of the soil and ecological processes of rangeland ecosystems are 
sustained," referring in particular to those "ecological processes that are most important in 
sustaining the capacity of rangeland to satisfy values and produce commodities" (Rangeland 
Health . 1994, pp. 4 and 5). This committee recommended that "the determination of whether 
a rangeland is healthy, at risk, or unhealthy should be based on the evaluation of three 
criteria: degree of soil stability and watershed function, integrity of nutrient cycles and energy 
flow, and presence of functioning recovery mechanisms" (Rangeland Health , 1994, pp. 97-98). 
If rangeland health is conserved, then the capacity of the site to produce different mixes of 
commodities and values is conserved (Rangeland Health , 1994, pg. 95). A "Rangeland Health 
Evaluation Matrix," as developed by the National Research Council ( Rangeland Health , 1994, 
pg 130 & 131) is reproduced in Appendix 1 . 

Section 4180.1 of the Grazing Administration Regulations (4180.1, Federal Register Vol. 60, 
No. 35, pg. 9970) directs that the authorized officer ensure that the following conditions of 
rangeland health exist: 

(a) Watersheds are in, or are making significant progress toward, properly 

functioning physical condition, including their upland, wetland, and aquatic 
components; soil and plant conditions support infiltration, soil moisture 

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Chapter 1 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



storage, and the release of water that are in balance with climate and landform 
and maintain or improve water quality, water quantity, and the timing and 
duration of flow. 

(b) Ecological processes, including the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy 
flow, are maintained, or there is significant progress toward their attainment, in 
order to support healthy biotic populations and communities. 

(c) Water quality complies with State water quality standards and achieves, or is 
making significant progress toward achieving, established BLM management 
objectives such as meeting wildlife needs. 

(d) Habitats are, or are making significant progress toward being, restored or 
maintained for Federal threatened and endangered species, Federal Proposed, 
Category 1 and 2 Federal Candidate and other special status species. 

Conditions (a) and (b) describe physical and biological characteristics of health rangelands. 
Conditions (c) and (d) describe healthy rangelands in terms of legal requirements that will be 
met when rangelands are properly functioning. 

1.4 STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES - BASIC CONCEPTS 

'The fundamentals of rangeland health, guiding principles for standards and the fallback 
standards address ecological components that are affected by all uses of public rangelands, 
not just livestock grazing. However, the scope of this final rule, and therefore the 
fundamental of rangeland health of part 4180.1, and the standards and guidelines to be made 
effective under part 4180.2, are limited to grazing administration" (Federal Register, Vol. 60, 
No. 35, pg. 9970-9971). 

The following are characteristics of standards and guidelines. 
A Standard: 

(1) is a criterion regarding a resource quality or quantity upon which a judgement 
or decision is based (e.g., a statement concerning expected ecosystem or 
rangeland health); 

(2) is measurable; 

(3) establishes parameters within which resource use and management activities 
can be conducted; and 

(4) should have observable indicators. 
A Guideline: 

(1 ) describes a practice, method or technique used to ensure that grazing 
management activities meet standards; 



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Rangeland He alth Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 1 

(2) is either a set of management practices from which one or more practices is 
selected; or is a specific, required management practice; 

(3) may be adapted or changed when monitoring or other information indicates the 
guidelines are not effective or a better means of meeting applicable standards 
exists. 

1.5 PROCESS FOR ESTABLISHING STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

Another result of "Rangeland Reform 94" and the rulemaking by the Secretary of the Interior 
was the formation of Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) (Federal Register, Vol. 60 No. 35, 
February 22, 1995). The primary purpose of the RACs is to advise BLM regarding the 
preparation, amendment and implementation of land use plans. In addition the State 
Directors are to consult the RACs regarding the development of the standards and guidelines 
and to identify the geographic area for which the standards and guidelines are developed 
(43 CFR 4180.2). The rulemaking also directs the State Director to coordinate with Indian 
tribes, other affected State and Federal land management agencies and the public in the 
development of standards and guidelines. 

By May 1995, the California State Director identified three RACs to be organized in the state 
and asked for nominations for membership. These RACs were organized on the previous 
BLM District boundaries in California for the Susanville, Ukiah And Bakersfield Districts. The 
membership of the RACs are a cross-section of the varying interests in public land 
management for the area. (The guidelines for the make-up of the membership is prescribed 
in the rulemaking.) Charters for the RACs, as well as nominations for membership, were 
submitted to the Secretary of the Interior for approval by July 1995. After formal approval, the 
State Director announced the formation and initial membership of the RACs on August 22, 
1995. (See Chapter 5 for a complete list of RAC members.) 

The California Desert Conservation Area (California Desert District) in southern California, has 
an advisory committee established by section 601 of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976. Since this advisory council already serves in the same capacity as 
that identified for the RACs, it was decided to consult with the existing advisory committee in 
the development of standards and guidelines for southern California, rather than organize an 
additional group for this purpose. 

The location of each RAC area, including the California Desert District Advisory Committee 
(DAC), as well as the RACs located adjacent to California in Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona are 
shown on Map 2. 

During the spring of 1 995, a BLM team was formed for the purpose of assisting the RACs in 
developing standards and guidelines, and to review existing BLM land use plans for 
conformity with the new rules. 

On September 21, 1995, an initial meeting was held simultaneously with all the RACs, 
nationally, including a television conference briefing and call by the Secretary of the Interior. 
This briefing was also given to the California Desert District's DAC. The first major 
assignment given to the RACs was to provide advice regarding the development of standards 
and guidelines. Following this briefing, each RAC developed committees for this purpose, 

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Chapter 1 ^ Rangeland Health Standards & Gui delines EIS 

and several subsequent meetings and workshops were held by each RAC or RAC subgroup 
to develop standards and guidelines for the State Director's consideration. These workshops 
and meetings involved negotiations among the membership of each RAC, and included 
participation by interested members of the public as well. Each RAC also reviewed draft 
proposals from the other California RACs and from some of the other states for comparisons 
and coordination. The RACs all report that the most challenging issue in this process was to 
determine the appropriate level of specificity to include in the standards and guidelines. 

During this time state-wide workshops were also held with the BLM team, RAC members and 
representatives, State and Federal agency representatives, and representatives of 
organizations interested in public land management. The purpose of these workshops was to 
help the RACs coordinate their efforts, to provide guidance and interpretations of the 
rulemaking for standards and guidelines, and to determine future strategies for completing the 
development of state-wide standards and guidelines. Information was also shared about 
standard and guideline development efforts in adjacent states. 



1.6 PUBLIC SCOPING, ISSUES 

A Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 1996 announcing the 
intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the development of rangeland 
standards and guidelines in California and northwestern Nevada. This notice also asked for 
comments concerning the scope of the EIS and Plan Amendment. Due to concerns by some 
of the interested public that sufficient notification was not provided, public scoping (comments 
on issues to be addressed, or comments on the scope of the analysis) was allowed in July, 
and an additional formal public scoping period was opened for 30 days during August and 
September 1996. 

The new grazing regulations require that the standards and guidelines developed by the State 
Director must meet the fundamentals for sustaining and enhancing the environmental health 
of rangelands. Therefore, the decisions within this EIS will only identify standards for healthy 
rangelands and guidelines which will enable us to meet those standards; and will incorporate 
those standards and guidelines into existing land use plans. 

The following topics were identified at a workshop on June 25, 1 996 for possible 
consideration in the analysis: vegetation communities, special status plants, wildlife, 
recreation, cultural resources, economics relative to grazing, social values, BLM economic 
concerns involving grazing administration, economic affects to local communities, water 
quality and quantity, watershed and soil relationships, fisheries, and riparian habitat. 

During the public scoping periods, the following major issues and concerns were raised: 

1 . Native plant communities and species, including goals of reintroducing native species 
in areas dominated by non-natives; 

2. Implementation on each allotment, including time frames, yearly scientifically valid 
monitoring and evaluation, how grazing allotment plans will be developed; 

3. Existing laws ~ Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Wild Horse and Burro Act, 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act, etc. - and the standards within those laws; 

4. A "rapid recovery" alternative; 

5. Rest rotation, deferred grazing, season of use, suitability, etc. in the alternatives; 

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Rangelan d Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 1 

6. Protection of riparian areas and fragile desert areas (less than 10" precipitation); 

7. The need to make the RAG guidelines more specific, and, conversely, the need to 
make them less specific (need to allow flexibility for site-specific solutions); 

8. The need to have all guidelines based upon documented scientific research, and to 
show the connection between the guideline and the standard(s) it is designed to 
achieve (specific examples are stubble height, residual dry matter); 

9. The need for state-wide, consistent guidelines, and, conversely, the need for regional 
guidelines that address regional concerns; 

1 0. Impacts on fuel loads and fire danger; 

1 1 . Definition of terms and clarification of intentions, including a request that we not use 
subjective terms; and, 

12. Statements of desired conditions need to indicate the species composition or key 
indicator species for the various ecosystems. 

The complete text of all scoping or comment letters are on file in BLM's California State 
Office. 



1.7 ASSUMPTIONS 

The following assumptions have been made for analysis purposes and the future 
implementation of standards and guidelines for rangelands in the planning area: 

1 . The standards and guidelines selected through this EIS will be incorporated into (and 
thereby amend) all existing BLM land use plans in the planning area, except as 
described in Section 1.11 below. 

2. It is not within the scope of this EIS to make an assessment of the rangeland health or 
grazing suitability of any specific tract of public rangeland or grazing allotment. 

3. The standards and guidelines for managing rangelands for the planning area will apply 
to the grazing of livestock on all public rangelands in the planning area as the lands 
are determined available for livestock grazing use. (Again, except as in Section 1.11 
below.) 

4. It understood that public land uses other than those related to livestock grazing 
activities also contribute to rangeland health conditions, but these will not be analyzed 
in this document. 

5. Much of the implementation will occur when monitoring or verified observation 
indicates management changes are needed. Changes will be made within physical 
and financial constraints and on a priority basis as determined by BLM managers. 

6. Much of the implementation will be determined and applied through collaborative 
management approaches, such as through Coordinated Resource Management 
planning or integrated planning efforts with other land owners, organizations, and 
agencies on a regional or watershed scale. 

7. At a minimum all implementation will be coordinated and in consultation with the 
affected grazing permittees/lessees, the appropriate State agencies or Tribes having 

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Chapter 1 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



lands or resources within the area, and the interested public as known for any given 
allotment or rangeland area. 

8. Due to the natural features (climate, topography, soils, presence of naturalized, non- 
native plants, etc.) some locations may take a very long time to meet standards. 

9. The values and demand for use of the public rangelands will continue to increase and 
be diverse. 

1 0. There will be no arbitrary removal of livestock. If removing livestock will not fix a 
problem (even if improper grazing practices originally caused the problem), then 
livestock will not be removed. 



1.8 ISSUES NOT ADDRESSED IN THE ANALYSIS 

The following issues will not be directly addressed within the EIS. They are primarily drawn 
from the list of issues identified in Section 1 .6. 

1 . The viability of native plant and animal communities must be addressed in the 
standards and guidelines. However, the whole-sale reintroduction of native species in 
the annual grasslands will not be discussed in this document. Desired plant 
communities or other management goals are management decisions more properly 
made in a Resource Management Plan through the normal public planning process. 

2. The identification of the specific actions needed, the scheduling, and the prioritization 
for implementation in meeting the standards and guidelines for rangeland health will 
occur as site-specific assessments and information indicate the need for 
on-the-ground change and will not be analyzed in this document. However 
Section 2.4 in Chapter 2 addresses how BLM will approach implementation. 

3. BLM will continue to follow existing laws such as the Clean Water Act, Wild Horse and 
Burro Act, various cultural resource protection acts, etc. This will not be discussed in 
this EIS. 

4. Rest rotation, deferred grazing, and other management systems have been extensively 
analyzed in other environmental documents. The guidelines direct the manager to use 
grazing systems that will lead to meeting the standards. Local grazing practices will 
be decided case-by-case, and may be modified as needed to meet the standards. 

5. Conditions and site potential vary tremendously across California and NW Nevada, 
depending upon climate, topography, and soil type. The guidelines are quite generic, 
with the intent that management actions be developed for a specific location based 
upon the conditions at that site. 



1.9 ANALYSIS AREA 

The analysis area includes those portions of California represented by the Bakersfield, Ukiah, 
and Susanville Resource Advisory Councils (RACs). See Map Number 3 for the location of the 

Page 8 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 1 



analysis area. This area encompasses 5.7 million acres of public rangelands in which 
approximately 4.2 million acres are in California and 1 .5 million acres in Nevada. Currently 
there are 705 grazing allotments within the area consisting of 4,370,000 acres of public 
rangeland producing 340,499 animal unit months (AUMs) of livestock forage. This area is 
administered by ten BLM Resource Area offices. The number of grazing allotments, acres of 
public land available for grazing and animal unit months (AUMs) of authorized grazing use 
(preference) by office are shown in Table 1 .9. 



Table 1 .9: Analysis Area 






Resource Areas 


# Allotments 


# Acres (000) 


# AUMs 


Redding 


42 


36 


3,768 


Clear Lake 


14 


20 


1,580 


Areata 


11 


35 


4,122 


Eagle Lake 


64 


1,005 


54,050 


Surprise 


52 


1,454 


97,515 


Alturas 


157 


501 


56,330 


Bishop 


60 


614 


36,931 


Folsom 


117 


87 


7,779 


Caliente 


113 


469 


56,225 


Hollister 


75 


149 


22,199 


TOTAL 


667 


4,370 


340,499 



1.10 CALIFORNIA DESERT CONSERVATION AREA 

Early on in the process, the Desert Advisory Council (DAC) for the California Desert District 
(CDD), chose not to initiate a new planning process solely for livestock grazing standards and 
guidelines, but rather to develop standards and guidelines for all public land uses through the 
ongoing coordinated management planning efforts for the District. Their rationale was that 
the existing land use plans for the CDD largely conform to the fundamentals for rangeland 
health or the intentions as identified in the rulemaking, and that it would be better and more 
efficient to address the development of specific standards and guidelines within the individual 
Coordinated Management Plans. Accordingly, the development of standards and guidelines 
for the CDD will be postponed until the development of coordinated management plans in the 
CDCA or when other needs may drive plan amendments for the South Coast Resource 
Management Plan and planning for Eastern San Diego County. 

Target dates for finalizing rangeland standards and guidelines for the CDD are as follows: 

Western Mojave Coordinated Management Plan - August 1 997, 



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Chapter 1 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan - July 1997, 
Northern and Eastern Mojave Planning Effort (3 separate plans) - October 1 998, 
Coachella Valley Habitat Conservation Plan - 1 998, 

Plan Amendment for the South Coast Resource Management Plan -- 1 998, and the 
Eastern San Diego Area Plan - 1 998. 

Therefore the CDD area of California will not be included in the analysis area for this EIS. 
During the interim, as provided by the regulations, the CDD will follow the fallback standards 
and guidelines or existing planning guidance, whichever is more protecting of the 
fundamentals for rangeland health. At this time, the State Director will submit a set(s) of 
standards and guidelines for approval by the Secretary of the Interior for those portions of 
California and NW Nevada, excluding the CDD administration area. 



1.11 OTHER PLANS AND NEPA ANALYSIS 

In 1 994, the BLM completed a national Environmental Impact Statement entitled "Rangeland 
Reform 94." This document serves as the basic NEPA analysis for the rulemaking of 
February 22, 1 995, that included the direction and identification of criteria for the development 
of rangeland standards and guidelines on a state or regional level. This EIS effort will tier to 
the national "Rangeland Reform 94" EIS where appropriate. 

On April 1 3, 1 994, a Record of Decision was developed by the BLM and USDA Forest Service 
which amended planning documents within the range of the Northern Spotted Owl, a 
threatened species. That document also included standards and guidelines for managing 
activities on public lands within the range of the habitat area. Some of the specific standards 
and guidelines relate to grazing management activities in specific types of habitats and are 
recognized as the current standards and guidelines to be followed in those instances. Those 
standards and guidelines and subsequent plan amendments will remain as policy and will not 
be reconsidered or analyzed in this EIS effort. Those standards and guidelines are primarily 
applicable to some of the grazing allotments in the Areata Resource Area as well as a few 
allotments in the Redding and Clear Lake Resource Areas. This EIS will tier where 
appropriate to the final supplemental EIS prepared in February of 1994 on management of 
habitat for late-successional and old-growth forest related species within the range of the 
Northern Spotted Owl. 

During March of 1 994, the BLM and the USDA Forest Service prepared an environmental 
assessment (EA), commonly known as the "PACFISH" EA, for the implementation of interim 
strategies for managing anadromous fish-producing watersheds in the Columbia River Basin 
(outside of the range of the Northern Spotted Owl) and portions of California. The PACFISH 
EA included management strategies for livestock grazing for defined riparian habitat 
conservation areas within anadromous watersheds. Currently only the Redding Resource 
Area has authorized livestock grazing on public lands within these areas. The decision 
record developed in February 1 995 by the two agencies directed that the management 
strategies proposed in the EA be implemented for an 1 8 month period while long-term 
management strategies are developed through geographic specific environmental analyses. 
Subsequently both agencies have directed that the standards and guidelines proposed in 
PACFISH continue to be implemented and formally adopted for implementation. The BLM 
recognizes the PACFISH standards and guidelines as the applicable standards and 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 1 

guidelines where intended by that record of decision. This EIS, then, will tier from the 
PACFISH EA where applicable. 

The BLM developed EISs for grazing management of available public rangelands in California 
and Northwestern Nevada, starting in 1 979 and finishing in 1 985. Much of the information 
and assessments contained in those documents remain valid and this EIS will tier to these 
documents where appropriate. Appendix 2 contains a table listing the titles, locations of 
areas covered, and dates of the grazing EISs. 

1.12 LEGAL FRAMEWORK 

The Bureau of Land Management operates under a number of federal and state laws and 
regulations. Appendix 3 contains a brief listing of the major laws that affect BLM's 
management of public lands. 



Page 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



CHAPTER 2: DESCRIPTION OF THE ALTERNATIVES 



2.1 INTRODUCTION Page 2 

2.2 PLAN AMENDMENTS Page 2 

2.3 WATER QUALITY - BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Page 2 

2.4 IMPLEMENTATION Page 2 

2.5 ALTERNATIVE 1 : STANDARDS & GUIDELINES PROPOSED BY THE 

RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCILS Page 5 

2.51 BAKERSFIELD RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 5 

BAKERSFIELD STANDARDS FOR RANGELAND HEALTH Page 6 

BAKERSFIELD RAC GUIDELINES FOR GRAZING MANAGEMENT: . Page 9 

2.52 UKIAH RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 12 

UKIAH STANDARDS FOR HEALTHY RANGELANDS Page 13 

UKIAH GUIDELINES FOR LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT Page 16 

2.53 SUSANVILLE RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 19 

SUSANVILLE STANDARDS FOR RANGELAND HEALTH Page 19 

SUSANVILLE RAC GUIDELINES FOR LIVESTOCK GRAZING Page 22 

2.6 ALTERNATIVE 2: STATE-WIDE CONSISTENCY / CONSOLIDATED 

STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 25 

STATE-WIDE STANDARDS Page 25 

STATE-WIDE GUIDELINES Page 28 

2.6 ALTERNATIVE 3: NO ACTION (FALL-BACK STANDARDS AND 

GUIDELINES FROM THE REGULATIONS) Page 29 

FALL-BACK STANDARDS Page 29 

FALL-BACK GUIDELINES Page 29 

2.8 ALTERNATIVE 4: RAPID IMPROVEMENT / RAPID RECOVERY 

STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES Page 31 

RAPID IMPROVEMENT STANDARDS Page 32 

RAPID IMPROVEMENT GUIDELINES Page 32 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



2.1 INTRODUCTION 

There are four alternatives considered and analyzed in this document. Alternative 1 , the 
proposed action consists of the standards and guidelines developed by the three Resource 
Advisory Councils (RACs) for their representative areas. Alternative 2 consists of the state- 
wide standards developed by BLM, in consultation with representatives from each of the 
RACs, but without concurrence by the entire RAC membership. The guidelines for Alternative 
2 are essentially the same as those for Alternative 1 . Alternative 3 is adoption of the national 
"fall-back" standards and guidelines listed in the regulations. Alternative 4 is a rapid 
improvement or rapid recovery alternative developed by BLM, with suggestions from several 
interest groups. The Standards in Alternative 4 are the same as those in Alternative 2, except 
for Water Quality. 

A "no action" alternative consisting of present grazing management was considered and 
dropped. This is not a viable alternative because the new grazing regulations include the 
"fall-back" set of standards and guidelines. If the BLM does not develop and implement state 
or regional standards and guidelines by February 1 2, 1 997, the "fall-back" standards and 
guidelines will be in effect until state or regional standards and guidelines are developed. 



2.2 PLAN AMENDMENTS 

In accordance with the range regulations at 43 CFR 41 00, existing land use plans (Resource 
Management Plans, Management Framework Plans, and special plans such as PACFISH) 
have been examined to determine their compliance with the new regulations and the 
principles of rangeland health. In most cases, these plans do comply. 

These existing plans will be amended to include the standards and guidelines that are 
adopted through this EIS. Where there are plan decisions that are contrary to the new 
regulations and the principles of rangeland health, those decisions will be removed from the 
plans. A complete list of the affected plans is in Appendix 4. 



2.3 WATER QUALITY -- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES 

To meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act, BLM is currently developing a state-wide 
water quality management plan under an MOU with the California Water Resources Control 
Board. This water quality management plan would designate BLM as being responsible for 
water quality issues on those public lands managed by BLM. As part of the water quality 
plan, we are required to submit a list of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to the State and 
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their approval. Appendix 1 contains the 
proposed best management practices. One of the decisions of this document will be to 
finalize the list of best management practices so that it may be submitted for approval. 



2.4 IMPLEMENTATION 

It is BLM's intent to fully implement the grazing standards and guidelines as directed in the 
recent rulemaking. The rule states that, 'The authorized officer shall take appropriate action 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



as soon as practicable but not later than the start of the next grazing year upon determining 
that grazing practices or levels of grazing use on public lands are significant factors in failing 
to achieve the standards and conform to the guidelines . . . ." (43 CFR 4180.2 (c)). 
Determination of the "appropriate action," and the actual scheduling of the implementation, 
will be the responsibility of the local Resource Area or Field Office Managers. 

The implementation process will follow four basic steps, including an initial screening, 
management change, monitoring, and additional inventory or assessment. 

Screening 

BLM will classify each allotment or manageable grazing unit into one of three categories, 
based upon available data and the professional judgement of the staff. These are: 

1 . Areas where one or more standards are not being met, or significant progress is not 
being made toward meeting the standard(s), and livestock grazing is a significant 
contributor to the problem; 

2. Areas where all standards are being met, or significant progress is being made toward 
meeting the standard (s); 

3. Areas where the status for one or more standards is not known, or the cause of the 
failure to not meet the standard(s) is not known. 

Management Change 

For allotments or manageable grazing units in category 1 above: 

1 . Prioritize the areas based upon ecosystem position, resource risk, biological values, 
legal requirements, and social / economic considerations. 

2. Using the NEPA process and the guidelines, make a decision of what the appropriate 
changes should be. 

3. Implement the management change(s). 
Monitoring 

1. For allotments or manageable grazing units in category 2 above: 

Monitor these areas to ensure that they continue to meet the standards or make 
significant progress toward meeting the standards. 

2. For allotments or manageable grazing units in category 1 above: 

Monitor these areas to ensure that the management changes are made, and that they 
are resulting in the area meeting the standards or making significant progress toward 
meeting the standards. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 

Inventory and Assessment 

For allotments or manageable grazing units in category 3 above: 

1 . Prioritize the areas based upon ecosystem position, resource risk, biological values, 
legal requirements, and social / economic considerations. 

2. Conduct riparian / wetland and upland functional assessment inventories to determine 
conditions in relationship to the standards. 

3. Conduct evaluations to determine livestock cause and effect relationships. 

4. Implement Management Change and Monitoring actions as appropriate. 

Prioritization 

Under current funding levels, it will not be possible to complete assessments of rangeland 
health on all public rangelands and to take appropriate corrective action immediately upon 
the standards and guidelines taking effect. This was recognized in the preamble to the final 
rulemaking where it states that, "the Department recognizes that it is not possible to complete 
all assessments of rangeland health and take appropriate corrective action . . . immediately 
upon completion of the State or regional standards and guidelines. The Department intends 
that assessments and corrective actions will be undertaken in priority order as determined by 
BLM." (Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 35, 2/22/95, page 9956) 

There are allotments and grazing units where BLM knows there are problems directly 
attributable to grazing, but no management actions have been taken. These areas will fall 
into category 1 . Some of the areas with known problems have already had management 
actions implemented. Dependent upon the success of the actions, these would fall into 
category 1 , requiring additional actions, category 2, or category 3. 

Priorities for assessments and for corrective actions will be determined by the BLM, 
dependent upon a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to: 

1 . the severity of resource impacts resulting from non-achievement of the standard and 
conformance with the guidelines; 

2. the anticipated cooperation of the permittee/lessee; 

3. the return on investment in any corrective action; 

4. the size of the affected area; 

5. legal mandates; 

6. the ability to arrest further degradation; 

7. the proportion of Federal land in the allotment; and, 

8. any pending administrative actions, i.e. renewal, transfer, etc. 

Priorities will also depend upon the characteristics of the landscapes involved, and their 
potential for improvement - as an example, if an area is severely degraded or has passed a 
threshold and there is little or no chance for recovery. 

Focusing limited BLM resources on low priority areas at the expense of postponing 
assessment and needed action on higher priority areas is not in the best interest of sound 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



rangeland management. Therefore, the authorized officer must consider the expected return 
to the public in setting priorities and deciding what constitutes an appropriate action. All 
such decisions will have a sound, rational basis, and be well documented. 

Currently each Resource Area office in California maintains a prioritization of management 
needs and emphasis for each grazing allotment based on a Bureau-wide system established 
in the early 1980's, commonly called the l,M,C system. This system of identification may still 
continue to be appropriate, providing that rangeland health status and needs are also 
included in the criteria for prioritization; or it may change. Appendix 5 identifies the number of 
allotments under current prioritization categorization criteria in each of the Resource Areas, as 
well as a description of the categories. 

Appendix 6 is a flow chart showing the implementation process. 



2.5 ALTERNATIVE 1 : STANDARDS & GUIDELINES PROPOSED BY THE 

RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCILS 

This alterative includes three sets of proposed rangeland standards and guidelines, one for 
each of the RAC areas - Bakersfield, Ukiah and Susanville. Each RAC worked with local 
interests, and knowledgeable BLM staff to develop standards and guidelines that would meet 
the needs of their area. 



2.51 BAKERSFIELD RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

Standards and Guidelines for Rangeland Health 
in The Bakersfield District 

Preamble 

The standards for rangeland health and guidelines for livestock management on Bureau of 
Land Management lands are written to accomplish the four fundamentals of rangeland health, 
insofar as the standards are affected by livestock grazing practices. Those fundamentals are: 

A. Watersheds are properly functioning; 

B. Ecological processes are in order; 

C. Water Quality complies with State standards; and, 

D. Habitats of protected species are in order. 

A " standard " serves as the criterion to determine if management actions are resulting in the 
maintenance or attainment of healthy rangelands per the four fundamentals of rangeland 
health. Standards are expressions of physical and biological conditions or degree of function 
required for healthy, sustainable rangelands. " Guidelines " serve as the vehicle to implement 
management actions related to livestock grazing to accomplish rangeland health standards. 
Guidelines will indicate the types of grazing methods and practices determined to be 
appropriate to ensure that standards can be met. The public should be an active participant 
in the application of these standards and guidelines. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeiand Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Standards and guidelines will apply to all BLM lands within the geographic area for which 
they are written. Using the complete set of standards and guidelines, the local BLM range 
managers, in consultation with grazing permittees and other interested parties, will determine 
"terms and conditions" for each grazing allotment. These terms and conditions are the 
specific grazing practices that are appropriate for that allotment. 

BLM lands vary so greatly in topography, climate, soils, water availability, size and distribution 
of parcels, and other factors, that local managers must have the flexibility needed to 
determine which grazing practices will work best in each area, and to change those practices 
when necessary to achieve the desired rangeiand conditions. 

Where "desired plant community" (DPC) objectives have been determined through the BLM 
planning and NEPA processes, the DPCs will be a measure in meeting the standards of 
rangeiand health. Where DPCs have not yet been determined for a pasture or allotment, 
they will be a measure in meeting the standards of rangeiand health when they are approved 
through the BLM planning and NEPA processes. 

The scientific evidence and collective knowledge of the public and rangeiand managers 
shows a wide variety of grazing effects on plants, animals and watersheds. As a result, the 
application of these standards and guidelines will emphasize using the best available 
information for a site-specific situation, and the results of historical grazing patterns should be 
given significant weight in any decisions about grazing practices to be followed on BLM 
allotments. Where historical grazing use has been compatible with meeting the standards for 
soils, species, riparian areas or water quality, no permanent changes should be mandated in 
the existing grazing patterns without substantial scientific evidence that changing the existing 
grazing pattern will improve the ability to achieve the standards. 

For any standard, guideline, term, or condition to work, it must be capable of being achieved, 
based on sound science or good common sense, and be measurable, understandable, and 
economically feasible. There is no use in setting standards that can not be met. 

Successful application of these standards and guidelines will depend on BLM's capability to 
monitor rangeiand conditions and implement management practices. Each Bureau office 
should develop a monitoring and implementation plan that sets priorities based on resource 
conditions, trends, and resource values. 



BAKERSFIELD STANDARDS FOR RANGELAND HEALTH 

STANDARD: SOILS 

Soils exhibit functional biological and physical characteristics that are appropriate to soil type, 
climate, and land form. 

Meaning That: 

Precipitation is able to enter the soil surface at appropriate rates; the soil is adequately 
protected against accelerated erosion; and the soil fertility is maintained at appropriate levels. 



Page 6 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



As Indicated By: 

* Ground cover (vegetation and other types of ground cover such as rock) is sufficient 
to protect sites from accelerated erosion. 

* Litter/residual dry matter is evident, in sufficient amounts to protect the soil surface. 

* A diversity of plant species, with a variety of root depths, is present and plants are 
vigorous during the growing season. 

* There is minimal evidence of accelerated erosion in the form of rills, gullies, 
pedestaling of plants or rocks, flow patterns, physical soil crusts/surface sealing, or 
compaction layers below the soil surface 

* Biological (microphytic or cryptogamic) soil crusts are in place where appropriate. 



STANDARD: SPECIES 

Healthy, productive and diverse populations of native species, including special status 
species (Federal T&E, Federal proposed, Federal candidates, BLM sensitive, or Calif. State 
T&E) are maintained or enhanced where appropriate. 

Meaning That: 

Native and other desirable plant and animals are diverse, vigorous, able to reproduce and 
support the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycles and energy flows over space and time. 

As Indicated By: 

* A variety of age classes are present for most perennial plant species. 

* Plant vigor is adequate to maintain desirable plants and ensure reproduction and 
recruitment of plants when favorable climatic events occur. 

* The spatial distribution and cover of plant species and their habitats allows for 
reproduction and recovery from localized catastrophic events. 

* A diversity of plant species with various phenological stages and rooting depths are 
present on sites where appropriate. 

* Appropriate natural disturbances are evident. 

* Levels of non-native plants and animals are at acceptable levels. 

* Special status species present are healthy and in numbers that appear to ensure 
stable to increasing populations; habitat areas are large enough to support viable 
populations or are connected adequately with other similar habitat areas. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Adequate organic matter (litter and standing dead plant material) is present for site 
protection and decomposition to replenish soil nutrients. 

Where appropriate, biological soil crusts (also called microphytic or cryptogamic soil 
crusts) are present and not excessively fragmented. 

Where appropriate, species composition contributes to the desired plant community 
objectives. 

Noxious and invasive species are contained at acceptable levels. 



STANDARD: RIPARIAN 

Riparian/wetland vegetation, structure and diversity and stream channels and floodplains are, 
or are making significant progress toward, functioning properly and achieving an advanced 
ecological status. 

Meaning That: 

The vegetation and soils interact to capture and pass sediment, sustain infiltration, maintain 
the water table, stabilize the channel, sustain high water quality, and promote biodiversity 
appropriate to soils, climate, and landform. 

As indicated By: 

Vegetation Attributes : 

* Vegetation cover is greater than 80% or the percentage that will protect banks and 
dissipate energy during high flows. 

Age-class and structure of woody/riparian vegetation is diverse and appropriate for the 
site. 

Where appropriate, shading is sufficient to provide adequate thermal regulation for fish 
and other riparian dependent species. 

* Where appropriate, there is adequate woody debris. 

A diversity of plant species with various phenological stages and rooting depths are 
present. Root masses are sufficient to stabilize stream banks and shorelines. 

Plant species present indicate that soil moisture characteristics are being maintained. 

* There is minimal cover of invader/shallow-rooted species. 

* Adequate organic matter (litter and standing dead plant material) is present to protect 
the site and to replenish soil nutrients through decomposition. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



Point bars are vegetated. 



Physical Indicators : 



Streambank stability, pool frequency, substrate sediments, stream width, and bank 
angles are appropriate for the stream type (using D. Rosgen's Stream Classification 
System). 



STANDARD: WATER QUALITY 

Surface and groundwater quality complies with California, or other appropriate (e.g. Nevada 
or Tribal) water quality standards. 

Meaning That: 

BLM actions do not contribute to pollution that violates the quantitative or narrative standards 
of the California and Nevada water quality standards (WQS). Approved Best Management 
Practices (BMPs) are used to protect water quality or restore water quality to water bodies not 
fully supporting designated beneficial uses, e.g., water quality limited segments. 

As Indicated By: 

* Chemical constituents do not exceed the WQS. 

* Water temperature does not exceed the WQS. 

* Nutrient loads, fecal coliform, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen do not exceed the WQS. 

* Aquatic organisms and plants (e.g., macroinvertebrates, fish, algae and plants) 
indicate support for beneficial uses. 

BAKERSFIELD RAC GUIDELINES FOR GRAZING MANAGEMENT: 

Guideline 1 : Livestock grazing operations will be conducted so that progress is made 
toward maintaining or promoting adequate amounts of vegetative ground cover, including 
standing plant material and litter to support infiltration, permeability, and maintain soil 
moisture storage and soil stability appropriate for the ecological sites within the management 
units. The ground cover should maintain soil organisms, plants, and animals to support the 
hydrologic and nutrient cycles, and energy flow. 

Guideline 2: Implement grazing systems that regulate the timing and intensity of grazing. 
Continuous season-long grazing use is allowed if it has been demonstrated that it can be 
consistent with achieving a healthy, properly functioning ecosystem. Grazing systems should 
specify season of use based on plant phenology and geohydrologic processes where 
appropriate. On annual rangelands, mulch management should be used to define target 
forage use levels that will ensure that sufficient amounts of residual dry matter (RDM), or 

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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



standing plant material wili be maintained throughout the grazing season. Mulch levels for 
annual grasses should meet the requirements of Table A, whenever feasible. Mulch levels will 
include a "buffer" to account for RDM loss from other natural processes (decomposition, 
animal use, etc.). Exceptions may be approved during the green season when substantial 
regrowth is expected or if lower RDM levels are required to meet particular rangeland health 
objectives, such as reducing competition for a desired species. 

Guideline 3: Where appropriate, use grazing systems that maintain the presence and 
distribution of microsites for seed germination. 

Guideline 4: Perennial plant utilization should be limited to appropriate levels of the current 
year's growth, unless it has been proven that this level of use is incompatible with the 
continued existence of the plant. (Table A) 

Guideline 5: Annual range readiness will be determined by: 1) Minimum RDM levels at the 
time of turnout prior to green season growth are exceeded by 200 pounds per acre; or 2) 
Minimum RDM levels and at least 2 inches of new growth are present in the growing season. 

Guideline 6: Implement grazing systems that permit existing native species to complete 
entire life cycles and sustain the spatial distribution of microsites necessary for seed 
germination at intervals sufficient to maintain the viability of the species. 

Guideline 7: Use grazing systems that are compatible with the persistence of desired 
species. Grazing use should provide appropriate levels of plant matter that will promote the 
existence of desirable plants and animals. 

Guideline 8: Native species are recommended for all revegetation and enhancement projects 
unless they are not readily available in sufficient quantities or are incapable of maintaining or 
achieving properly functioning conditions and biological health. 

Guideline 9: Periods of rest from livestock grazing or other avoidable disturbances should 
be provided during/after episodic events (e.g. flood, fire, drought) and during critical times of 
plant growth needed to achieve proper functioning conditions, recovery of vegetation, or 
desired plant community. 

Guideline 10: Grazing management practices will allow for the reproduction of species that 
will maintain riparian-wetland functions including energy dissipation, sediment capture, 
groundwater recharge, streambank stability, the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy 
flow. 

Guideline 11: Grazing practice should maintain a minimum herbage stubble height on all 
stream-side areas at the end of the grazing season (Table A). There should be sufficient 
residual stubble or regrowth at the end of the grazing season to meet the requirements of 
plant vigor maintenance, bank protection, and sediment entrapment. 

Guideline 12: Water sources, wetlands and riparian areas may be fenced to reduce impacts 
from livestock. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 2 



Guideline 13: The development of water sources will maintain ecologic and hydrologic 
function and processes. 

Guideline 14: Locate salt blocks and other supplemental feed well away from 
riparian/wetland areas. 

Table A: Forage Utilization and Mulch Management Requirements 



Precipitation 


Plant 
Community 


Slope, Elevation 


Minimum 
Residual Dry 
Matter* 
(Ibs/ac) 


Maximum 
Utilization of 
Key Perennials, 
#, ## 


4-10 Inches 


California 

annual 

grassland 


<25% 

25-45% 
>45% 


200 
250 
350 


25-40% 


1 0-40 Inches 


California 

annual 

grassland, 

Oak woodlands 


<25% 

25-45% 

>45% 

<15%, 1000-2500 
>15%, >2500 


400 
600 
800 

700-900** 
1000-1200** 


30-45% 


8-30 Inches 


Sagebrush 

grassland, 

Pinyon-juniper 

woodland, 

Cool season 

pasture 


NA 


NA 


30-40% 


4-40 Inches 

=~= 


Riparian areas, 
wetlands 


NA 


4-6 inch 
stubble height 
# 


35-45% herbs, 
1 0-20% shrubs, 
0-20% trees 



•a- 

-A- -A- 
# 



## 



Minimum to be present at fall green/winter green-up. 

Higher minimum is for sites that are: in unsatisfactory condition, grazed during active 

growth, not rested, or on steeper slopes. 

Stubble height and percent utilization levels are initial values that should be adjusted 

to consider timing of grazing use and plant phenology, resource conditions and a 

site's resiliency at the allotment, pasture or site-specific location. Perennial plant 

utilization levels and stubble heights are based on a literature review by Jerry L. 

Holechek, Policy Changes on Federal Rangelands: A Perspective, or A Wall Street 

Perspective on Management of Federal Rangelands. National Public Lands Advisory 

Councii, November 19, 1991. Golden CO. 

On sites in unsatisfactory condition and/or trend, perennial plant utilization should be 

no more than 15-25% current annual growth where less than one period of rest is 

provided per growing season of use. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Guideline 15: Locate new livestock handling and/or management facilities outside of 
riparian/wetland areas. For existing livestock handling facilities inside riparian area, ensure 
that facilities do not prevent attainment of standards. Limit livestock trailing, bedding, 
watering, loading, and other handling efforts to those areas and times that will not retard or 
prevent attainment of standards. 

Guideline 16: Implement grazing systems that will promote compliance with the Water 
Quality Standards. 



2.52 UKIAH RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

Standards and Guidelines for Rangeland Health 
in The Ukiah District 

Preamble 

The standards for rangeland health and guidelines for livestock grazing on BLM administered 
lands are written to accomplish the four fundamentals of rangeland health, insofar as they are 
affected by livestock grazing practices. These fundamentals are: 

A. Watersheds are properly functioning; 

B. Ecological processes are in order; 

C. Water quality complies with state standards; and, 

D. Habitats of protected species are in order, 

Additionally, the standards and guidelines must be consistent with those of adopted regional 
conservation strategies which affect the Northwestern California public lands under the 
purview of the Ukiah Resource Advisory Council. The Northwest Forest Plan (NFP)(USDI, 
USDA, 1 994) encompasses the entire range of the northern spotted owl and provides a set of 
land allocations and standards and guidelines for management activities. It contains both 
terrestrial and aquatic conservation strategies. Range management standards and guidelines 
are directed toward attainment of aquatic conservation strategy objectives through 
management of riparian reserves. The Interim Strategies for Managing Anadromous Fish- 
producing Watersheds in Eastern Oregon and Washington. Idaho, and Portions of California 
(PACFISH) (USDI, USDA, 1995) extends riparian standards and guidelines as in the NFP to all 
anadromous watersheds beyond the range of the northern spotted owl. 

The RAC and BLM staff reviewed these standards and guidelines during development of the 
Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing to ensure that the 
Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives of the NFP and Riparian Management Objectives of 
PACFISH were consistent, and that the standards and guidelines were consistent with the 
BLM's Redding and Areata Resource Management Plans. 

A "standard" serves as the criterion to determine if management actions are resulting in the 
maintenance or attainment of healthy rangelands per the four fundamentals of rangeland 
health. Standards are expressions of physical and biological conditions or degree of function 
required for healthy sustainable rangelands. Guidelines serve as the vehicle to implement 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



management actions related to livestock grazing to accomplish the rangeland health 
standards. Guidelines will indicate the types of grazing methods and practices determined to 
be appropriate to ensure that the standards can be met. 

Standards and guidelines will apply to all BLM lands within the geographic area for which 
they are written. Using the standards and guidelines, the local BLM managers, in 
consultation with grazing permittees and other interested parties, will determine terms and 
conditions for each grazing allotment. These terms and conditions are the specific grazing 
practices that are appropriate for that allotment. 

BLM lands vary so greatly in topography, climate, soils, water availability, size and distribution 
of parcels and other factors that the local managers must have the flexibility needed to 
determine which grazing practices will work best in each area, and to change those practices 
when necessary to achieve the desired rangeland conditions. 

Where desired plant community (DPC) objectives have ben determined through the BLM 
planning and NEPA processes, the DPCs will be a measure in meeting the standards of 
rangeland health. 

Where historical grazing has been compatible with meeting the standards for soils, species, 
riparian areas or water quality, no permanent changes should be mandated in the existing 
grazing patterns without substantial scientific evidence that changing the grazing pattern will 
improve the ability to achieve the standards. 

For any standard, guideline, term or condition to work, it must be capable of being achieved, 
based on sound science or good common sense, and be measurable, understandable, and 
economically feasible. There is no use in setting standards that cannot be met. 

UKIAH STANDARDS FOR HEALTHY RANGELANDS 
STANDARD: SOILS 

Soils exhibit characteristics of infiltration, fertility, permeability rates and other functional 
biological and physical characteristics that are appropriate to soil type, climate, desired plant 
community, and land form. 

Meaning That: 

Precipitation is able to enter the soil surface at appropriate rates; the soil is adequately 
protected against accelerated erosion; and the soil fertility is maintained at appropriate levels. 

As Indicated By: 

* Ground cover (vegetation and other types of ground cover such as rock) sufficient to 
protect sites from accelerated erosion. 

* Litter/residual dry matter evident, accumulating in place, and showing negligible 
movement by water. 

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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



A diversity of plant species, including native plants, with a variety of root depths, is 
present and plants are vigorous during the growing season. ( Rangeland Health . 
National Research Council, 1994, page 130, table 4-8). 

There is minimal evidence of accelerated erosion in the form of rills, gullies, 
pedestaling of plants or rocks, flow patterns, physical soil crusts/surface sealing, or 
compaction layers below the soil surface. 

Biological (microphytic or cryptogamic) soil crusts, if present, are intact. 



STANDARD: SPECIES 

Healthy, productive, and diverse populations of native plant and animal species, particularly 
special status species, are maintained and/or being restored. 

Meaning That: 

As Stated. 

As Indicated By: 

A variety of age classes are present for desired plant species (Rangeland Health . 
National Research Council 1994, page 130 table 4-8). 

Plant vigor is adequate to maintain desirable plants and ensure reproduction and 
recruitment of plants when favorable climatic events occur. 

The spatial distribution of plant and animal species and their habitats allows for 
reproduction and recovery from localized catastrophic events. 

A diversity of plant species with various developmental stages and rooting depths are 
present to extend the photosynthetic period and increase energy capture. 

* Evidence of beneficial natural disturbances. 

* Non-native, noxious and invasive species are at acceptable levels. 

Special status species and other local species of concern are healthy and in numbers 
that appear to ensure stable to increasing populations; habitat areas are large 
enough to support viable populations or are connected adequately with other similar 
habitat areas. 

Adequate organic matter (litter and standing dead plant material) is present for site 
protection and decomposition to replenish soil nutrients and support nutrient cycling. 

Where appropriate, biological soil crusts (also called microphytic or cryptogamic soil 
crusts) are present and not excessively fragmented. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



Species composition contributes to the desired plant community objectives. 



STANDARD: RIPARIAN 

Riparian/wetland vegetation, structure and diversity, and stream channels and floodplains are, 
or are making significant progress toward functioning properly and achieving late serai 
stages. 

Meaning That: 

The vegetation and soils interact to capture and pass sediment, sustain infiltration, maintain 
the water table, stabilize the channel, sustain high water quality, and promote biodiversity 
appropriate to soils, climate, and landform. 

As Indicated By: 

* Naturally occurring vegetation cover will protect banks and dissipate energy during 
high flows. 

* Age-class and structure of woody/riparian vegetation is diverse and appropriate for the 
site. Recruitment of preferred species is adequate for sustaining the community. 

* Where appropriate, habitat is sufficient to provide for plant and animal riparian 
dependent species. There is diversity and abundance of insects and amphibians. 

* Where appropriate, there is adequate woody debris. 

* A diversity of plant species with various developmental stages and rooting depths is 
present (Rangeland Health , National Research Council 1 994, page 1 1 2, and table 4-8 
on page 130). Root masses are sufficient to stabilize stream banks and shorelines. 

* Plant species present indicate that soil moisture characteristics are being maintained. 

* Shallow-rooted, invader plant species are not displacing native species. 

* Adequate organic matter (litter and standing dead plant material) is present to protect 
the site and to replenish soil nutrients through decomposition (Rangeland Health , 
National Research Council 1994, page 130, table 4-8). 

* Point bars are becoming vegetated over time. 

* Adequate stream bank stability, morphology, pool frequency, stream width depth ratio, 
and minimal substrate sediments and bare ground. 

Exceptions and exemptions from riparian standard, where the standard may not be 
applicable: 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Structural facilities constructed for livestock/wildlife water or other purposes which are not 
natural wetland and/or riparian areas. Examples are: water troughs, stockponds, flood 
control structures, tailings ponds, water gaps on fenced or otherwise restricted stream 
corridors, etc. 



STANDARD: WATER QUALITY 

With the exception of off-stream artificial impoundments, surface and groundwater quality 
complies with California, Tribal and Federal water quality standards (WQS). 

Meaning That: 

BLM actions do not contribute to pollution that violates the quantitative or narrative standards 
of the California water quality standards (WQS)). Approved Best Management Practices 
(BMPs) are used to protect water quality or restore water quality to water bodies not fully 
supporting designated beneficial uses, e.g. water quality limited segments. 

As indicated By: 

Chemical constituents, water temperature, nutrient loads, fecal coliform, and turbidity 
do not exceed WQS. 

* Dissolved oxygen levels, and aquatic organisms and plants (e.g., macroinvertebrates, 

fish, and algae) indicate support for beneficial uses. 

UKIAH GUIDELINES FOR LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT 

RIPARIAN HABITATS 

Guideline 1 : Management for riparian dependent special status species, where they occur, is 
primary. 

Guideline 2: Season of use should be short term and allow for plant regrowth and 
reproduction. The residual or regrowth should provide sufficient herbaceous forage biomass 
to meet the requirement of plant vigor maintenance, plant and wildlife habitat, stream shading, 
bank protection and sediment entrapment. Specific grazing dates will be set in lease terms 
and conditions. 

Guideline 3: Locate salt blocks and supplemental feed well away from riparian zones. 

Guideline 4: Locate all livestock handling and management facilities outside of riparian 
areas. 

Guideline 5: Limit livestock trailing and watering to those areas and times that will not retard 
or prevent attainment of standards. Avoid trailing in vernal pools and wetlands whenever 
possible. 



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Chapter 2 



Guideline 6: Make temporary changes to livestock grazing management practices, including 
increases or decreases in stocking rates and seasons of use in response to important 
episodic events (drought, flood, fire, good germination, etc.). 

Guideline 7: Degraded riparian areas may require complete rest or other change in 
management practices to initiate the recovery process. 

Guideline 8: Limit or exclude livestock grazing in identified culturally sensitive areas where 
grazing is detrimental to such sites. 

Guideline 9: BLM will work with livestock grazing lessees to utilize prescribed fire, fencing, 
rest-rotation, holistic resource management, integrated pest management, and other 
innovative management practices where appropriate to protect riparian health. 

Guideline 10: Native species are recommended for all revegetation and enhancement 
projects unless they are not available in sufficient quantities or are incapable of maintaining or 
achieving properly functioning conditions or biological health. 



GUIDELINES FOR ANNUAL UPLANDS 



TABLE B: Residual Dry Matter (RDM) Guidelines. 

Definition is pounds/acre by slope and precipitation. 




Precipitation 


Slope 0-25% 


Slope 26-45% 


Slope 46% and Up 


10" -40" 
40" - 60" 
60+" 


500 lbs. 

750 lbs. 

1 ,000 lbs. 


600 lbs. 
1 ,000 lbs. 
1 ,500 lbs. 


800 lbs. 
1 ,250 lbs. 
2,000 lbs. 



Annual Upland Ranqelands 

Guideline 11: If necessary to meet desired plant community (DPC), or if there is a probability 
to promote or enhance native perennial plant communities (including special status plants) to 
check degradation, then adjust grazing management practices, such as: season of use, RDM, 
stocking level, distribution, pasture rotation, or other range management practices. 

Guideline 12: Continuous season-long grazing is allowed if it has been demonstrated that it 
can be consistent with achieving a healthy, properly functioning ecosystem. 

Guideline 1 3: Alter livestock grazing or initiate erosion control practices in areas where soil 
is compacted or prone to accelerated erosion. 

Guideline 14: BLM will work with livestock grazing lessees to utilize prescribed fire, fencing, 
rest-rotation, holistic resource management, integrated pest management, and other 
innovative management practices where appropriate. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Guideline 15: Make temporary changes to livestock grazing management practices, 
including increases or decreases in stocking rates and seasons of use in response to 
important episodic events (drought, flood, fire, good germination, etc.). 

Guideline 16: Limit or exclude livestock grazing in identified culturally sensitive areas where 
grazing is detrimental to such sites. 

Guideline 17: Degraded areas may require complete rest or other change in management 
practices to initiate the recovery process. 

Guideline 18: The plan for grazing an any allotment must consider other uses (recreation, 
wildlife, mineral resource development, etc.) and be coordinated with other users of the public 
lands so that overall use does not detract from the goal of achieving rangeland health. 

Guideline 19: Encourage grazing management practices that sustain biological diversity 
across the landscape by providing a mosaic of serai stages and vegetation corridors, and 
minimizing habitat fragmentation. 

Guideline 20: Implement aggressive action to reduce the invasion of exotic plant species 
into native plant communities. Control the spread of noxious weeds through various methods 
such as grazing management, fire management, and other vegetative management practices. 

Guideline 21 : Utilize prescribed fire and natural prescribed fire to promote a broad vegetative 
diversity of healthy plant communities, while creating a mosaic network of interconnected 
vegetative resources. 

Guideline 22: Native species are recommended for all revegetation and enhancement 
projects unless they are not available in sufficient quantities or are incapable of maintaining or 
achieving properly functioning conditions of biological health. 



Perennial Rangeland Guidelines 

Guideline 23: No authorized livestock grazing in new allotments which are native perennial 
grasslands until guidelines specific to these perennial species are developed and adopted. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



2.53 SUSANVILLE RAC RECOMMENDED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing 
Susanville Resource Advisory Council 

Preamble 

Healthy Rangelands contribute to the social and economic well being of rural communities in 
Northeastern California and Northwestern Nevada, and they provide, over the long term, the 
most reliable harvest of rangeland resources. The objective of rangeland resource planning 
is to integrate BLM resources with other resources to achieve the mandate of multiple-use 
and sustained yield management of renewable resources in an environmentally sound and 
cost effective manner. 

The Standards of rangeland health are expressions of physical and biological condition or 
degree of function required for healthy, sustainable rangelands. The Standards are applied 
on a landscape scale. Some standards may not apply to all acres. For example, a mosaic of 
vegetation types and age classes may produce the diversity associated with healthy 
rangelands; however, some individual vegetation communities within the mosaic may lack 
diversity. 

The Standards always relate to the capability or potential of a specific site. The land will not 
be expected to produce vegetation or support habitats not attainable due to climate, soils or 
other limiting attributes. In instances where site capability or potential has changed due to 
man-caused or natural disturbance, recognition will be given to the modified capability when 
setting or assigning a standard to (for) the site. The Standards are designed to establish the 
threshold for healthy rangelands. In some circumstances, an exception to the Standards or 
Guidelines may be necessary or unavoidable; however, these instances should be under 
extreme conditions only, and fully justified (documented) in order to be acceptable. 

The Guidelines for grazing management are the types of grazing management methods and 
practices determined to be appropriate to ensure that standards can be met or that significant 
progress can be made toward meeting the standard. The Guidelines were designed to 
provide direction, yet offer flexibility for implementation through activity plans and Terms and 
Conditions for grazing permits. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must operate within 
the constraints of other regulatory requirements that may affect how standards and guidelines 
are applied for livestock grazing, for example the Wild and Free Roaming Wild Horse and 
Burro Act (1971). 



SUSANVILLE STANDARDS FOR RANGELAND HEALTH 

Standard 1 : Upland Soils 

Upland soils exhibit infiltration and permeability rates that are appropriate to soil type, climate 
and landform, and exhibit functional biological, chemical and physical characteristics. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Meaning that: 

Precipitation is able to enter the soil surface and move through the soil profile at a rate 
appropriate to soil type, climate and landform; the soil is adequately protected against human 
caused wind or water erosion, and the soil fertility is maintained at/or improved to the 
appropriate level. 

Criteria to Meet Standard: 

* Evidence of wind and water erosion, such as rills and gullies, pedestaling, scour or 

sheet erosion, deposition of dunes is either absent or if present does not exceed what 
is natural for the site. 

Vegetation is vigorous, diverse in species composition and age class, and reflects the 
potential natural vegetation or desired plant community for the site. 



Standard 2: Streams 

_, Stream channel form and function are characteristic for the soil type, climate and landform. 

Meaning that: 

Channel gradient, pool frequency, width to depth ratio, roughness, sinuosity and sediment 
transport are able to function naturally and are characteristic of the soil type, climate and 
landform. 

Criteria to Meet Standard: 

* Gravel bars and other coarse textured stream deposits are successfully colonized and 
stabilized by woody riparian species. 

* Stream bank vegetation is vigorous and diverse, mostly perennial, and holds and 
protects banks during high stream flow events. 

The stream water surface has a high degree of shading, resulting in cooler water in 
summer and reduced icing in winter. 

Portions of the primary floodplain are frequently flooded (inundated every 1-5 years). 

Standard 3: Water Quality 

At a minimum, water quality is adequate for desired beneficial use of water resources on 
public lands. 

Meaning that: 

All waters are suitable for original use or desired beneficial use. 

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Ra ngeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 

Criteria to Meet Standard: 

* (Refer to riparian and wetland and stream criteria) 

Standard 4: Riparian and Wetland Sites 

Riparian and Wetland areas are in properly functioning condition. 
Meaning that: 

The riparian and wetland vegetation is controlling erosion, stabilizing stream banks, shading 
water areas to reduce water temperature, filtering sediment, aiding in floodplain development, 
dissipating energy, delaying floodwater and increasing recharge of ground water that is 
characteristic for these sites. Vegetation surrounding seeps and springs is controlling erosion 
and reflects the potential natural vegetation for the site. 

Criteria to Meet Standard: 

* Riparian vegetation is vigorous and mostly perennial, diverse in species composition, 
age class and life form sufficient to stabilize stream banks and shorelines. 

* Riparian vegetation and large woody debris are well anchored and capable of 
withstanding high stream flow events. 

* Negligible accelerated erosion as a result of human related activities is evident. 

* Age class and structure of woody riparian and wetland vegetation are appropriate for 
the site. 

Exceptions and Exemptions to Standard 4 (where Standard 4 is not applicable) 

* Structural facilities constructed for livestock/wildlife water or other purposes are not 
natural wetland and/or riparian areas. Examples are: water troughs, stock ponds, 
flood control structures, tailings ponds, water gaps on fenced or otherwise restricted 
stream corridors, etc. 

Standard 5: Biodiversity 

Healthy, productive and diverse populations of native plant and animal species, including 
special status species are maintained. 

Meaning that: 

Native and other desirable plant and animal populations are diverse, vigorous, able to 
reproduce, and support nutrient cycles and energy flows. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EI S 

Criteria to Meet Standard: 

* A variety of age classes are present for most species. 

Vigor is adequate to maintain desirable levels of plant and animal species to ensure 
reproduction and recruitment of plants and animals when favorable events occur. 

Distribution of plant species and their habitats allow for reproduction and recovery 
from localized catastrophic events. 

* Natural disturbances such as fire are evident, but not catastrophic. 

Non-native plant and animal species are present at acceptable levels. 

Habitat areas are sufficient to support viable populations and are connected 
adequately with other similar habitat areas. 

Adequate organic matter (litter and standing dead plant material) is present for site 
protection and decomposition to replenish soil nutrients and maintain soil health. 

SUSANVILLE RAC GUIDELINES FOR LIVESTOCK GRAZING 

The following guidelines are meant to apply to one or more of the standards for rangeland 
health. 

Guideline 1 : A stubble height threshold will be present on all stream-side areas at the end of 
the growing season, or at the end of the grazing season if grazing occurs after fall dormancy. 
The residual or regrowth should provide sufficient herbaceous forage biomass to meet the 
requirement of plant vigor maintenance, bank protection and sediment entrapment. 

Utilization of stream-side herbaceous and woody plants should be limited to a specified 
amount of the current growth, and/or livestock should be removed to allow sufficient time for 
plant regrowth. 

a. Late season use (summer or fall grazed pastures) requires more restrictive 
utilization based on site specific situations. 

b. Special situations such as fragile fisheries habitats or easily eroded stream 
banks may require more restrictive utilization thresholds. 

c. Hoof action impacts or chiseling on stream banks will not exceed specified 
thresholds so that stream bank stability is maintained or improved. 

Guideline 2: Desired serai states will be determined through the Allotment Management Plan 
development process; generally the goal will be to achieve Potential Natural Communities in 
the riparian zone. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines E1S Chapter 2 



Guideline 3: Periods of rest from livestock grazing or other avoidable disturbances must be 
provided during/after periods of stress on the land (e.g: fire, flood, drought) and during critical 
times of plant growth. 

Guideline 4: Plans for grazing on any allotment must consider other uses (recreation, 
archaeological sites, wildlife, horses and burros, mineral resource extraction, etc.) and be 
coordinated with the other users of public lands so that overall use does not detract from the 
goal of achieving rangeland health. 

Guideline 5: Intensity, frequency, season-of-use, and distribution of grazing shall provide for 
growth and reproduction of desired plant species, and the achievement of the potential 
natural vegetation or desired plant community. 

Guideline 6: Grazing permits will include site-specific, measurable terms and conditions. 

Guideline 7: Design and work towards implementation of a grazing management strategy for 
livestock for each grazing unit (pasture) within I (Improvement) and M (Maintenance) 
category allotments, to maintain or improve rangeland health. This may consist of, but not be 
limited to, season-of-use, rotation, or by setting utilization levels for desirable plants. Each 
management plan implemented will incorporate the factors necessary to maintain the health 
of desirable plants. 

Guideline 8: Determination of grazing use by livestock must provide for the habitat 
requirements of fish and wildlife. 

Guideline 9: Grazing management practices must sustain biological diversity across the 
landscape. A mosaic of serai stages, vegetation corridors, and minimal habitat fragmentation 
must be maintained. 

Guideline 1 0: Aggressive action to reduce the invasion of undesirable exotic plant species 
into native plant communities will be taken. The spread of noxious weeds will be controlled 
through appropriate methods such as grazing management, fire management and other 
management practices. 

Guideline 11: Prescribed fire and (natural) prescribed fire will be utilized to promote a 
mosaic of healthy plant communities, and vegetative diversity. 

Guideline 12: Grazing and other management practices shall take advantage of transitional 
opportunities (e.g.: drought, flood, fire) to enhance or establish populations of desirable tree, 
shrub, herbaceous and grass species. Utilization levels will be established for desired 
seedlings, saplings, and/or mature plants to promote their presence in the plant community. 

Guideline 13: Development of springs, seeps and other water related projects shall be 
designed to promote rangeland health. Wherever possible, water sources shall be available 
year long for use by wildlife. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Guideline 14: Transitional Guidelines 

Due to the extended period of time that will likely be needed to initiate allotment specific 
analyses for terms and conditions on individual permits, the following guidelines will be 
applied immediately upon implementation of the Standards and Guidelines. The transitional 
guidelines represent the minimum necessary guidelines to prevent the most abusive grazing 
practices from occurring. Range site specific exemptions to the Standards and Guidelines 
would only be allowed in the most extreme situations (refer to Preamble, paragraph 3). 
Transitional Guidelines will be appended to the existing land use plans. 

a. Each livestock grazing permit will be modified to include transitional terms and 
conditions setting maximum allowable use limits, unless objective, measurable 
utilization standards already are in effect. The following thresholds will be enforced: 

1 . Riparian (permanently saturated areas or perennial streams) 

Threshold: Maximum 60% utilization of herbaceous vegetation to be measured by 

the Landscape Appearance Method. 1 
Goal: Stability of the vegetative community. 

Indicator: No net loss of wetlands from livestock trampling. 

2. Uplands 

Threshold: Maximum 50% utilization of perennial or native herbaceous and browse 
species to be measured by the Landscape Appearance Method. 

3. Crucial (Essential) Deer Habitat 

Threshold: Maximum 20% utilization of annual growth on key browse species prior 
to October 1 , in identified concentration areas. This will be measured 
by the Landscape Appearance Method. 

b. Monitoring to determine compliance with utilization levels will be accomplished 
through a locally determined methodology as directed in the Rangeland Monitoring 
handbook, MS H-4400-1 , California State Office, Octover 1 9, 1 988; and will be in 
consultation with permittees and interested publics. Monitoring methods will be simple 
and easily accomplished. Permittees and others will be able to do the monitoring. 
BLM will be responsible for monitoring key areas. 

Data collection techniques will be agreed upon and cooperatively identified. 

c. The transitional terms and conditions will remain in effect until a current, site-specific 
analysis is completed. 

Guideline 15: Rangeland monitoring to determine utilization of forage resources and trend of 
rangeland health will be conducted in each allotment based on current accepted practices 
and techniques. Monitoring methodologies will be applicable to local conditions and 
developed in consultation with permittees and interested publics. 



The Landscape Appearance Method is described in the Interagency Technical Reference 
for Utilization Studies and Residual Measurements, 1 996. 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



2.6 ALTERNATIVE 2: STATE-WIDE CONSISTENCY / CONSOLIDATED STANDARDS 

AND GUIDELINES 

STATE-WIDE STANDARDS 

STANDARD: SOILS 

Soils exhibit characteristics of infiltration, fertility, permeability and other functional physical 
and biological characteristics that are appropriate to soil type, climate and landform. 

Meaning That: 

Precipitation is able to enter the soil surface and move through the soil profile at appropriate 
rates; the soil is adequately protected against accelerated wind or water erosion; the soil 
fertility is maintained at or moving toward appropriate levels; and the soil is capable of 
supporting the desired plant community. 

As Indicated By: 

* Ground cover (vegetation, litter and other types of ground cover such as rock 
fragments) is sufficient to protect sites from accelerated erosion. 

* Evidence of wind or water erosion such as rills, gullies, pedestals and sheet or scour 
erosion or depositional evidence such as alluvial fans or dunes, does not exceed 
natural rates for the site. 

* Vegetation is vigorous, diverse in species composition and age class, exhibits a 
variety of rooting depths, and reflects or is moving toward the desired plant 
community for the site. 

* The physical condition of the soil such as the presence of surface crust, compacted 
soil layers, or condition of the soil structure is appropriate for the soil type. 

* The occurrence and distribution of a biological crust (referred to as microphytic or 
cryptogamic) is appropriate for the soil type. 

STANDARD: RIPARIAN and WETLAND AREAS: 

Riparian 2 and wetland 3 areas will be in properly functioning condition and meeting 
management goals. Any riparian or wetland areas in functioning-at risk or nonfunctional 
condition must be in an upward trend. 



2 As measured at the river reach scale. 

3 Measured at the site scale. 

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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Meaning That: 

The vegetation, soils, and stream channel morphology interact to maintain natural flow 
regime, capture and pass sediment, maintain the water table, sustain high water quality, 
maintain channel type characteristics and promote biodiversity. 

Stock ponds, water troughs, and tailing ponds that have been constructed for purposes other 
than plant or wildlife habitat are not covered by this riparian wetland standard. However, these 
waters may be managed per objectives contained in land use plans. Since this standard is 
measured at the river reach scale, small water gaps in fences or otherwise restricted stream 
reaches need not meet this standard unless it is determined that problems at the water gap 
are affecting a large portion of the reach. 

As Indicated By: 

Where appropriate, naturally occurring vegetation cover is at a high enough 
percentage to protect stream banks and dissipate energy during high flows. 






Age-class and structure of tree and or shrub riparian vegetation is diverse and 
appropriate for site. Recruitment of preferred species is adequate for sustaining the 
community. 

There is minimal cover of invader/shallow rooted species. 

Point bars are successfully colonized by riparian plant species. 

Where appropriate, stream channel has a high percentage of canopy cover: resulting 
in cooler water in summer, reduced icing in winter, and more food for aquatic species. 

Where appropriate, there is adequate woody debris. 

Where appropriate, habitat is sufficient to provide for plant and animal riparian 
dependent species. There is diversity of insects and amphibians. 



STANDARD: SPECIES HABITAT 

Habitats are maintained or enhanced to support healthy, productive and diverse populations 
of native plant and animal species in their appropriate habitats, including special status 
species. 



Meaning That: 

Native and other desirable plant and animal species are diverse, vigorous, able to reproduce, 
and support nutrient cycles and energy flows. 



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Range land Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 

As Indicated By: 

* A variety of age classes are present for most plant species. 

* Plant vigor is adequate to maintain desirable plants and ensure reproduction and 
recruitment of plants when favorable climatic events occur. 

* Distribution of cover of plant species and their habitats allow for reproduction and 
recovery from localized catastrophic events. 

* Distribution and quality of habitats allow for reproduction and recovery of animal 
populations from localized catastrophic events. 

* A diversity of plant species with various phenological stages and rooting depths are 
present on sites, as appropriate. 

* Adequate organic matter (litter and standing plant material) is present for site 
protection and decomposition to replenish soil nutrients and support nutrient cycling. 

* Where appropriate, biological soil crusts (also called microphytic or cryptogamic soil 
crusts) are present and are not excessively fragmented. 

* Noxious and invasive species are contained at acceptable levels, 

* Populations of non-native plants and animals are at acceptable levels. 

* Populations of special status species present and other managed species are healthy 
and in numbers that support long term viability. 

* Habitats are sufficient to support viable populations of special status species present 
and are connected where possible across the landscape. 

* Natural disturbances, such as fire, are evident but not catastrophic. 

STANDARD: WATER QUALITY: 

Water will have characteristics suitable for existing or potential beneficial uses. 
Meaning That: 

There are a number of existing laws, regulations, executive orders, policies, and agreements 
addressing the protection of water quality. This standard is consistent with all of these, 
specifically recognizing the authority of the states and Indian tribes in water quality issues 
within their administrative boundaries, input by and coordination and consultation with the 
state water quality agency to define what constitutes compliance for water bodies within the 
area or activity under consideration is required. Input by and consideration with Indian tribes 
is required where tribal uses of the water could be effected by BLM management activities. A 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Management Agency Agreement (MAA) will be developed with the State of California which 
will make implementation of the above more effective and efficient. 

As Indicated By: 

Achieving water quality monitoring goals identified in BLM's management plans 
developed in accordance with the 1993 MOU or subsequent agreements including the 
MAA. These goals may include numeric or narrative criteria for chemical, physical, or 
biological water quality constituents or physical and biological indicators. 

STATE-WIDE GUIDELINES 

The guidelines and preambles identified by each RAC for the RAC Standards and Guidelines 
Proposals (Alternative 1) will remain the same for this alternative except for the following 
additions and modifications: 

Guideline 1 : (For all RAC areas) Manage livestock grazing to protect identified sensitive 
cultural areas. 

Guideline 2: The Residual Dry Matter (RDM) to remain after grazing on annual grasslands in 
both the Bakersfield and Ukiah RAC areas on rangelands with slopes less than 25% and in 
annual precipitation zones between 1 and 40 inches will be 400 pounds per acre. 



TABLE C: Residual Dry Matter (RDM) Guidelines. 

Definition is pounds/acre by slope and precipitation. 




Precipitation 


Slope 0-25% 


Slope 26-45% 


Slope 46% and Up 


4" -10" 
10" -40" 
40" - 60" 
60+" 


200 lbs. 

400 lbs. 

750 lbs. 

1 ,000 lbs. 


250 lbs. 

600 lbs. 
1 ,000 lbs. 
1 ,500 lbs. 


350 lbs. 

800 lbs. 
1 ,250 lbs. 
2,000 lbs. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



2.6 ALTERNATIVE 3: NO ACTION (FALL-BACK STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

FROM THE REGULATIONS) 

In accordance with the regulations published on February 22, 1995 in the Federal Register 
and identified in part 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations Subpart 41 80, the following 
standards and guidelines will be in effect after February 12, 1997, until such time that State or 
regional standards and guidelines are developed and in effect. 

There is not a "no action" alterative in the strictest interpretation, in that the regulations clearly 
direct there will be standards and guidelines developed or the fall-back standards and 
guidelines will be in effect. As there are no existing standards and guidelines for the BLM in 
California meeting all the fundamentals of rangeland health, the existing situation will change. 
This alterative will be considered as a no action alternative for analysis purposes, serving as a 
base for the analysis. The fall-back standards and guidelines were a decision product from 
the national "Rangeland Reform 94" rulemaking and environmental impact statement. 



FALL-BACK STANDARDS 
SOILS: 

Upland soils exhibit infiltration and permeability rates that are appropriate to soil type, climate 
and land form. 

RIPARIAN / WETLAND: 

Riparian-wetland areas are in properly functioning condition. 
STREAM FUNCTION: 

Stream channel morphology (including but not limited to gradient, width/depth ratio, channel 
roughness and sinuosity) and functions are appropriate for the climate and land form. 

NATIVE SPECIES: 

Healthy, productive and diverse populations of native species exist and are maintained. 

FALL-BACK GUIDELINES 

Guideline 1 : Management practices maintain or promote adequate amounts of ground cover 
to support infiltration, maintain soil moisture, and stabilize soils. 

Guideline 2: Management practices maintain or promote soil conditions that support 
permeability rates that are appropriate to climate and soils. 

Guideline 3: Management practices maintain or promote sufficient residual vegetation to 
maintain, improve, or restore riparian-wetland functions of energy dissipation, sediment 
capture, groundwater recharge and stream bank stability. 

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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Guideline 4: Management practices maintain or promote stream channel morphology (e.g., 
gradient, width/depth ratio, channel roughness and sinuosity) and functions that are 
appropriate to climate and landform. 

Guideline 5: Management practices maintain or promote the appropriate kinds and amounts 
of soil organisms, plants and animals to support the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycle, and 
energy flow. 

Guideline 6: Management practices maintain or promote the physical and biological 
conditions necessary to sustain native populations and communities. 

Guideline 7: Desired species are being allowed to complete seed dissemination in one out 
of every three years (Management actions will promote the opportunity for seedling 
establishment when climatic conditions and space allow). 

Guideline 8: Conservation of Federal threatened or endangered. Proposed, Category 1 and 
2 candidate, and other special status species is promoted by restoration and maintenance of 
their habitats. 

Guideline 9: Native species are emphasized in the support of ecological function. 

Guideline 1 0: Non-native plant species are used only in those situations in which native 
species are not readily available in sufficient quantities or are incapable of maintaining or 
achieving properly functioning conditions and biological health. 

Guideline 1 1 : Periods of rest from disturbance or livestock use during times of critical plant 
growth or regrowth are provided when needed to achieve healthy, properly functioning 
conditions (The timing and duration of use periods shall be determined by the authorized 
officer). 

Guideline 12: Continuous, season-long livestock use is allowed to occur only when it has 
been demonstrated to be consistent with achieving healthy, properly functioning ecosystems. 

Guideline 13: Facilities are located away from riparian-wetland areas wherever they conflict 
with achieving or maintaining riparian-wetland function. 

Guideline 1 4: The development of springs and seeps or other projects affecting water and 
associated resources shall be designed to protect the ecological functions and processes of 
those sites. 

Guideline 15: Grazing on designated ephemeral (annual and perennial) rangeland is allowed 
to occur only if reliable estimates of production have been made, an identified level of annual 
growth or residue to remain on site at the end of the grazing season has been established, 
and adverse effects on perennial species are avoided. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



2.8 ALTERNATIVE 4: RAPID IMPROVEMENT / RAPID RECOVERY STANDARDS 

AND GUIDELINES 

Summary 

All alternatives analyzed in this EIS involve similar management actions. As required in the 
regulations, "appropriate action" would be taken "as soon as practicable but not later than the 
start of the next grazing season" after a problem is known. 

Alternative 4, in contrast to the other alternatives, would ensure that any identified problems 
are corrected as fast as possible rather than taking a gradual, incremental, approach toward 
improved management. Alternative 4 is designed to promote sharp improvement in trend 
toward rangeland health within one to three years on favorable sites (e.g. riparian areas or 
wetlands). Appropriate action could include exclusion of livestock; changes in allowable 
forage utilization, the season of use, the timing or duration of that use; a combination of these 
or other actions; or any other management action that would accomplish the goal of properly 
functioning and healthy rangelands. Depending upon the site's potential, many sites may 
fully recover within this time period, others may require a longer time period. 

As a first step under this alternative, an assessment of every allotment would be undertaken 
to determine where the standards are not being met. If current livestock grazing practices are 
resulting in rangeland and riparian areas not meeting one or more of the standards, BLM will 
adjust livestock grazing before the next grazing season. Monitoring of all allotments would be 
continued annually, and BLM would make continued adjustments annually if necessary to 
ensure that trends are sharply upward, and that management is resulting in the most rapid 
progress possible toward rangeland health. 

Livestock grazing would be reestablished in any livestock exclusion areas only when 
rangeland health is achieved, and can be maintained on a long-term basis with continued 
livestock grazing. Range improvements such as fencing may be used to correct a small 
problem but major development projects (due to the logistics of project design, construction, 
cultural clearances, obtaining funding, etc.) would not be considered as immediate solutions 
in this alternative. 

Some public comments suggested strict quantitative measures for reducing livestock grazing 
under alternative 4. We have not incorporated those quantitative measures because they 
would remove appropriate management flexibility of the authorized officer and in some cases 
would exceed BLM's legal authority. 

Implementation of Alternative 4 would require substantial modifications of BLM's rangeland 
management and other program activities to accommodate an accelerated assessment and 
increased monitoring commitment and an accelerated schedule for achieving rangeland 
health. Due to the accelerated nature of the actions in this alternative, we would expect 
greater short term economic impacts to users than would occur under the other alternatives. 



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Chapter 2 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



RAPID IMPROVEMENT STANDARDS 

The standards for this alternative, except for the Water Quality Standard, are identical to the 
standards for Alternative 2, the State-wide Alternative. The standards for Soils, Riparian and 
Wetland Areas, and Species Habitat are incorporated by reference, and the full text is not 
repeated here. 



STANDARD: WATER QUALITY: 

Surface and groundwater quality complies with California or Nevada, and other appropriate 
(e.g. Tribal) water quality standards. 

Meaning That: 

Each state designates beneficial uses for water supplies, and has a set of objectives, 
management practices and/or procedures to be followed to ensure that water quality is 
sufficient so that the water can be used for the designated purpose. BLM will work with the 
states to establish appropriate beneficial uses for public waters, and follow the state 
regulations to ensure that water quality on public lands meets the criteria for the designated 
beneficial uses of that water. 

As Indicated By: 

Chemical constituents,water temperature, nutrient loads, fecal coliform, turbidity, and 
total dissolved oxygen levels are all within the appropriate range for the beneficial 
uses. 

Aquatic organisms and plants (e.g., macroinvertebrates, fish, algae and plants) 
indicate that conditions are appropriate for the beneficial uses. 



RAPID IMPROVEMENT GUIDELINES 

The following guidelines contain all of the necessary tools and direction to ensure rapid 
improvement and recovery of rangelands in at-risk or non-functioning condition. 
Implementation will follow site-specific analysis and determination of the best method to 
correct the problem in the shortest length of time. 

Guideline 1 : If monitoring or verified observation indicates that one or more of the standards 
is not being met, and if there is evidence that current grazing practices are causing or 
contributing to this unsatisfactory condition, then grazing management will be adjusted or 
changed before the following grazing season. 

Adjustments shall be designed to show rapid, substantive and measurable progress towards 
desired ecological conditions. Adjustments shall include, but need not be limited to: 

a. Reductions or changes in season of use in the affected area; or, 

b. Reductions or changes in allowed utilization in the affected area; or, 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 2 



c. Reductions or changes in stocking rate (up to and including total livestock 
exclusion); or 

d. Changes to the grazing system; or 

e. Changes to the class of livestock; or 

f. Any combination of the above. 

Changes may include any and all management practices that will accomplish the goals of 
meeting properly functioning and healthy rangelands, including practices recommended or 
suggested from new scientific studies that may be developed after these standards and 
guidelines are adopted. A couple of examples of management practices that may be used 
are locating salt blocks away from riparian areas, paving water gaps to alleviate or prevent 
erosion, or locating handling facilities away from riparian areas. 

Guideline 2: If monitoring or verified observation indicates that one or more of the standards 
is not being met, and if there is evidence that current grazing practices are causing or 
contributing to this unsatisfactory condition, then the following utilization limits recommended 
by Holechek (Holechek, et al, 1995, pg 195-198) for utilization of key herbaceous species will 
be applied. 

Adjustments (more or less restrictive) to these limits may be made based upon monitoring, 
and the desired resource conditions. These desired resource conditions should be 
documented in an AMP or comparable plan. Downward adjustments to these limits may be 
made if monitoring indicates that significant progress is not being made toward meeting one 
or more of the standards. 



Table D: UTILIZATION GUIDELINES 


Community Type 


Percent Use of Key 
Herbaceous Species* 


Salt desert shrubland 


25-35 


Semi-desert grass and shrubland 


30-40 


Sagebrush grassland 


30-40 


California annual grassland 


50-60 


Coniferous forest 


30-40 


Mountain shrubland 


30-40 


Oak woodland 


30-40 


Pinyon-juniper woodland 


30-40 


Alpine tundra 


20-30 



* Ranges in good condition and/or grazed during the dormant season can withstand the higher utilization level. Those in poor 
condition or grazed during active growth should receive the lower utilization level. 

Note: Percent utilization can be converted to approximate minimum allowed stubble heights or residual dry matter by using 
average values for height and dry weight of key species (see Kinney and Clary, 1991 ; or Clary and Webster, 1989, for example). 



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Guideline 3: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, adequate amounts of vegetative ground 
cover, including standing plant material and litter, will be maintained or promoted to support 
infiltration, maintain soil moisture storage, and stabilize soils. 

Residual Dry Matter (RDM) to remain on annual grasslands after grazing is shown on Table E. 



TABLE E: Residua! Dry Matter (RDM) Guidelines. 

Definition is pounds/acre by slope and precipitation. 




Precipitation 


Slope 0-25% 


Slope 26-45% 


Slope 46% and Up 


4"- 10" 
1 0" - 40" 
40" - 60" 
60+" 


200 lbs. 

400 lbs. 

750 lbs. 

1,000 lbs. 


250 lbs. 

600 lbs. 
1 ,000 lbs. 
1 ,500 lbs. 


350 lbs. 

800 lbs. 
1 ,250 lbs. 
2,000 lbs. 



Guideline 4: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, subsurface soil conditions will be 
maintained or promoted that support permeability rates appropriate to climate or soils. 

Guideline 5: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, riparian / wetland functions including 
energy dissipation, sediment capture, groundwater recharge, and stream bank stability will be 
maintained, improved, and restored. 

Guideline 6: A 4-6 inch minimum stubble height will remain at the end of the grazing season 
in most riparian areas. Minimum stubble heights greater than 6 inches will be set for critical 
fisheries, easily eroded streambanks, or unhealthy riparian areas (those not fully meeting 
standards, or those "functioning at risk"). 

Adjustments (more or less restrictive) to these limits may be made based upon monitoring, 
and the desired resource conditions. These desired resource conditions should be 
documented in an AMP or comparable plan. Increases to the minimum stubble height may 
be made if monitoring indicates that significant progress is not being made toward meeting 
one or more of the standards. 

Guideline 7: When implementing guidelines 1, 2 and 6, stream channel morphology (e.g. 
gradient, width / depth ratio, channel roughness and sinuosity) and functions appropriate to 
the climate and landform will be maintained and promoted. 

Guideline 8: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, the appropriate kinds and amounts of 
soil organisms, plants and animals to support the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy 
flow will be maintained or promoted. 

Guideline 9: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, the opportunity for seedling 
establishment of appropriate plant species will be promoted when climatic conditions and 
space allow it. Additionally, opportunistic management will be employed. After exceptionally 
wet or dry years, or following fire, flood or other extraordinary events, livestock grazing may 
be reduced or eliminated in order to avoid interfering with recruitment of species which 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 2 



germinate or sprout in response to such events, or are unusually sensitive to damage from 
such events. 

Guideline 10: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, water quality will be maintained or 
enhanced to meet management objectives, such as meeting wildlife needs. 

Guideline 11: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, habitats will be maintained, enhanced 
or restored to meet the needs of, and promote the conservation of, Federal threatened or 
endangered, Proposed, Category 1 and 2 candidate, and other special status species. 

Guideline 12: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, the physical and biological conditions 
necessary to sustain native populations and communities of plants and animals will be 
maintained or promoted. 

Guideline 1 3: Aggressive action will be taken to discourage the spread and infestation of 
weeds by livestock, such as the use of weed-free hay, livestock purging periods (Sheley 
1995), and appropriate grazing management. 

Guideline 14: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, native species will be emphasized in 
the support of ecological function. 

Guideline 15: When implementing guidelines 1 and 2, non-native species will be utilized only 
in those situations in which locally-collected native species are not available in sufficient 
quantities, or are incapable of maintaining or achieving properly functioning conditions and 
biological health. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



CHAPTER 3: AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT 



3.1 GENERAL SETTING Page 3 

3.1.1 Landforms Page 3 

3.1.2 Climate Page 4 

3.1.3 Hydrology Page 4 

3.2 GRAZING MANAGEMENT and ADMINISTRATION Page 5 

3.2.1 Allotments and Types of Operation Page 5 

3.2.2 Grazing Permits and Leases Page 6 

3.2.3 Range Improvements Page 7 

3.2.4 Grazing Systems Page 7 

3.2.5 Monitoring Page 9 

3.3 UPLANDS Page 16 

3.3.1 Soils Page 1 6 

3.3.2 Vegetation Page 1 9 

Annual Grasslands Page 1 9 

Vegetation Dynamics Page 21 

Sagebrush Steppe Page 25 

Salt desert scrub Page 29 

Juniper and pinyon woodlands Page 30 

Blackbush Scrub Page 31 

3.3.3 Upland Conditions and Trends Page 33 

3.4 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS Page 38 

3.4.1 Overview Page 38 

3.4.2 Wetland-Riparian Vegetation Page 40 

3.4.3 Water Quality Page 43 

3.5 WILDLIFE Page 46 

3.5.1 Wildlife Communities Page 46 

3.5.2 Big Game Page 48 

3.5.3 Upland Game Page 51 

3.5.4 Riparian, Wetland, and Aquatic Communities Page 51 

3.6 SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES Page 52 

3.7 WILD HORSES and BURROS Page 52 

3.8 RECREATION Page 56 

3.9 WILDERNESS Page 57 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



3.10 CULTURAL RESOURCES Page 59 

3.10.1 Cultural Properties Page 59 

3.10.2 Traditional Lifeway Values Page 59 

3.11 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS Page 61 

3.11.1 The Western United States Page 61 

3.1 1 .1 .1 The Western Livestock Industry Page 61 

3.1 1 .1 .2 Western Employment and Income - Regional Trends . . . Page 62 

3.1 1 .1 .3 Western Ranch Income and Operations Page 62 

3.1 1 .1 .4 Permit Value in the Western United States Page 64 

3.1 1 .1 .5 Government Transfer Payments Page 64 

3.1 1 .1 .6 Western United States Federal Rangeland Management 
Revenues and Costs Page 65 

3.1 1 .2 State of California (and N.W. Nevada) Page 65 

3.1 1 .2.1 California Employment and Income by Major Industry . . . Page 66 

3.1 1 .2.2 California Livestock Operations and Production Page 67 

3.1 1 .2.3 Government Transfer Payments - PILT, Grazing Fees . . . Page 68 

3.1 1 .2.4 BLM Rangeland Management Program Expenses Page 68 

3.1 1 .3 Principal BLM Grazing Program Counties Page 68 

3.1 1 .3.1 County Geographic Size, Total Population and Population 
Density Page 70 

3.1 1 .3.2 County Employment and Income Page 70 

3.1 1 .3.3 Livestock Operations and Production Page 72 

3.1 1 .3.4 Government Transfer Payments - PILT, Grazing Fees . . . Page 74 

3.1 1 .3.5 Permit Value Page 76 

3.1 1 .3.6 California Possessory Interest Tax Page 77 

3.11.3.7 Farm Real Estate Values Page 77 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines E1S Chapter 3 



3.1 GENERAL SETTING 

The area covered by this EIS consists of approximately 5.7 million acres of public land, 
including 4.2 million acres of public land in the northern two-thirds of California and 1 .5 million 
acres of public lands in northwestern Nevada. About 4.4 million acres of these public lands 
are grazed. The 10.3 million acres of public lands in southern California managed by the 
California Desert District will not be addressed in this document. 

Chapter 3 describes the physical, biological, social, and economic environment that would be 
affected by implementing any of the alternatives. Prime and unique farmlands, air quality, 
hazardous wastes, cultural resources, and areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs) 
would not be affected by implementing any of the alternatives. However, some resources 
protected by ACECs would be affected and these are described in this chapter. 

3.1.1 Landforms 

The coastal province of California is dominated by the Central Valley. This vast sedimentary 
alluvial plain stretches more than 400 miles north to south, and averages 40 to 50 miles in 
width. It is bounded on the west by the Coast Range, on the south by the Sierra Madre and 
Tehachapi Mountains, on the east by the Sierra Nevada, and on the north by the Klamath 
Mountains, the Cascades, and the Modoc Plateau. 

The Central Valley is fed by two major rivers. The Sacramento River, which flows south fed 
by Mount Shasta's melting snow, is joined by the Pit, McCloud, Feather, Indian, Yuba, and 
American Rivers which all flow down the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The San 
Joaquin River, flowing north, is joined by the Fresno, Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, 
Calaveras, Mokelumne, and Consumnes Rivers, again all flowing from the Sierra Nevada. 

If the Central Valley is the dominant feature of California, the Sierra Nevada is its backbone. 
This huge granitic range runs about 385 miles north to south and averages 80 miles in width. 
The range is generally higher in the south and trends lower in the north. There are about 40 
peaks over 10,000' elevation, with several topping 14,000'. The eastern slope is very steep, 
evidence of fault block uplifting; while the western slopes are more gradual, but rugged where 
the canyons are cut by the large rivers mentioned above. 

North of the Central Valley are the Klamath Mountains, the Cascade Range, and the Modoc 
Plateau. The Cascades are a chain of volcanic cones dominated by Mount Shasta at an 
elevation of over 14,000'. The Modoc Plateau is an interior draining platform consisting of a 
thick accumulation of lava flows and tuff beds with many small volcanic cones. 

The Coast Range is a series of small mountain chains ranging from 2000 to 7000' elevation, 
with the higher elevations generally to the north and the lower elevations to the south. These 
small chains contain numerous small fertile valleys. Many active fault zones, including the 
San Andreas Fault, occur throughout the length of these ranges. To the north, there are 
myriad rivers and streams, such as the Klamath, Mad, Eel, and Russian Rivers, flowing west 
into the ocean. To the south, rivers such as the Salinas, Santa Maria, and Santa Ynez 
become smaller, and are often intermittent rather than perennial. 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



East of the Sierra and Cascades is the Great Basin, which extends from California east into 
Nevada and Utah, and north into SE Oregon, and southern Idaho. This area is typified by 
north-south trending mountain ranges such as the White Mountains to the east of the Owens 
Valley. The region is watered in places by perennial or intermittent streams running from the 
mountains, which form wetlands and marshes or disappear into the dry valley bottoms. 

More detailed geologic and topographic information may be obtained from BLM State, 
District, and Resource Area Offices in the EIS area. 

3.1 .2 Climate 

The climate of the EIS area varies from Mediterranean for most of the area, to steppe in 
scattered foothill and inland basin areas, to alpine in the high Sierra. 

The Pacific Ocean and its maritime air masses have a heavy influence on the climate. The 
effect of abrupt changes in topography on temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation 
amount and frequency results in wide variations often within a few miles. The Sierra Nevada 
and the Cascade Range effectively act as barriers for the movement of continental air masses 
from the east. 

Two of the usual four seasons dominate the EIS area: a dry, warm summer and a cool, wet 
winter season. Winter lasts from October to April in the north and from November to March in 
the south. 

Winter storms from the west bring precipitation which falls as rain in the valleys and foothills 
and as snow in the mountains. Precipitation increases from south to north, and falls heaviest 
on the west side of the mountains. Average annual rainfall is about 11" in Los Angeles, 22" in 
San Francisco, and 74" in Crescent City. When the snowpack melts in the spring, the 
heaviest runoff descends the west side of the mountains. Eastern mountain slopes fall into 
typical "rain shadows." Locations on the western slope of the Sierra may receive as much as 
60" of rain, while the Owens Valley on the eastern side typically receives about 6". 

Snow is the major form of precipitation in high, forested, mountainous areas. It can be 
expected in the Sierra Nevada at any elevation above 2,000 feet during October to May. 
Above 4,000 feet, snow will remain on the ground for long periods of time, and at even higher 
elevations will be present all winter. 

3.1 .3 Hydrology 

Hydrology on rangelands in California is quite varied, but can be generalized into three 
categories based on rainfall: Coastal (tending toward subtropical), Central Valley and foothills 
(Mediterranean), and East Side or Great Basin (semi-arid). Precipitation through these 
climatic types is also highly variable. In the rain shadow portion of the Great Basin annual 
precipitation is as low as 4 to 6 inches; along the north coast it exceeds 100 inches. On the 
east side of the Sierra, precipitation comes mainly as snow with slow melting and little runoff. 
In the Central Valley and coast it comes mainly as rain in the winter, often with high intensities 
and high runoff and flooding. The monsoonal precipitation common in the Sonoran desert of 
southeast California does not generally occur in the area covered by this EIS. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



Hydrology is just as diverse as the climate. The most obvious generality that can be made is 
that the Great Basin riparian areas are supported by small spring-fed or snow-fed streams, 
which are mostly intermittent or ephemeral. These streams tend to lose water to the water 
table as they flow downstream. In contrast, Central Valley and coastal streams are fed by the 
ground water (the ground water level is generally higher than the stream bed) and gain water 
down stream. These streams tend to be more persistent than those in the east. 

Extensive research has been conducted by universities and research units on the hydrology 
of California and Great Basin rangelands. More detailed or specific discussions of this 
subject may be found in these studies. A good introduction to the subject is "Rangeland 
Hydrology," originally published by the Society for Range Management in 1 972, with a second 
edition published by Kendell/Hunt in 1981 (Branson et al. 1972/1981). 



3.2 GRAZING MANAGEMENT and ADMINISTRATION 

3.2.1 Allotments and Types of Operation 

As previously mentioned, the area covered by this EIS consists of approximately 4.2 million 
acres of public land in the northern two-thirds of California and 1 .5 million acres of public 
lands in northwestern Nevada. This area is administered by ten BLM Resource Area offices. 
Currently there are 705 grazing allotments within the area, consisting of 4.4 million acres of 
public rangeland, producing 340,499 animal unit months (AUMs) of livestock forage (see 
Table 3.2.1). Traditionally about 90% of this is grazed by cattle and the remainder by sheep. 

California rangelands are quite unique due to very diverse environmental conditions which 
require a variety of administrative and management measures for different locations within the 
state. While BLM administers grazing on perennial vegetation ranges in the Great Basin 
areas of California and northwestern Nevada (which are typical of most of the public lands in 
the western states); there is also a substantial amount of grazing on California's public lands 
for ephemeral and annual vegetation. Approximately one million acres of public lands within 
the Mediterranean climate regime contain highly productive grasslands which are composed 
predominantly of non-native annual grasses and forbs. This type of rangeland is located from 
the mid-elevations on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast throughout 
the length of California, and is unique in that it is found nowhere else in North America. 

Due to this variability in environmental conditions, the types of grazing operations and 
practices are quite varied throughout the analysis area. In the Great Basin region in NE 
California and NW Nevada, as well as along the Eastern Sierra escarpment, the majority of 
allotments consist of relatively large acreages of publicly owned rangelands, sometimes 
exceeding 100,000 acres. These allotments are mostly grazed during the snow-free season, 
and the livestock are removed from the allotments and held on privately owned holdings at 
lower elevations during the winter months. Generally, cow-calf type operations prevail in this 
region with a few operations using yearling stocker cattle. Historically much more of the 
region was grazed by sheep than now. However, there are a few sheep operations remaining 
in the region. Often the sheep are trailed great distances, particularly in the Eastern Sierra 
region. In some years, sheep operators use ephemeral forage, when available, in the Owens 
Valley while trailing from ranges in the Mojave Desert to summer ranges at higher elevations. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



TABLE 3.2.1 : Grazing use within the EiS area 


Resource Area 


# Allotments 


# Acres (1000's) 


#AUMs 


Redding 


42 


36 


3,768 


Clear Lake 


14 


20 


1,580 


Areata 


11 


35 


4,122 


Eagle Lake 


64 


1,005 


54,050 


Surprise 


52 


1,454 


97,515 


Alturas 


157 


501 


56,330 


Bishop 


60 


614 


36,931 


Folsom 


117 


87 


7,779 


Caliente 


113 


469 


56,225 


Hollister 


75 


149 


22,199 


TOTAL 


705 


4,370 


340,499 



Typically the livestock grazing practices and dependency upon the availability of public 
rangelands in most of the remainder of the analysis area is quite different than in the Great 
Basin region. This is due to the much different climate and land ownership pattern. Whereas 
some of the ranges in the Mediterranean and coastal region are grazed all year, the majority 
of the grazing is limited to the winter and spring months when the annual grasses and forbs 
are most productive and nutritious. As a rule these publicly owned rangelands are 
fragmented and mixed with privately owned rangelands, and are only a small portion of the 
overall grazing for the allotment or ranch. Many of the operations are ranch-based types of 
operations in which the livestock basically reside within the ranch boundaries at all times and 
are not as migrant as those in the Great Basin. There is some grazing of sheep on these 
ranges, but the majority are used by cow-calf and yearling stocker operations. 

Almost without exception, there is some amount of grazing on unfenced privately owned 
rangelands in conjunction with the grazing use on the pubic rangelands throughout the entire 
analysis area. On over half of the allotments, the amount of privately owned rangelands 
exceeds the amount of publicly owned rangelands within the area grazed. 

3.2.2 Grazing Permits and Leases 

Traditionally, grazing use is authorized by the BLM as permits or leases for a period of 10 
years. Shorter term permits and leases are sometimes issued for special circumstances, such 
as to accommodate a shorter term lease of the base property or when the authorized officer 
determines that a shorter term authorization is in the best interest of range management. 
Additionally, non-renewable grazing authorizations may be issued for special short-term 
needs such as trailing, or to allow for grazing use where it has been determined there is 
short-term surplus forage available for grazing. All permits and leases are subject to 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



modifications and to annual adjustments. These are implemented through consultation 
between the permittee/lessee and the BLM. 

The permits and leases identify the number, kind and/or type of livestock that may graze the 
allotment and the grazing period (usually with specific beginning and ending dates). In 
addition, many permits and leases also require adherence to prescribed grazing prescriptions 
in the form of grazing systems such as deferred, deferred-rotation, or rest-rotation (see 
Glossary). Other authorizations may have conditions pertaining to turn-out dates based on 
soil or vegetation conditions or require (as an example) a post-grazing residual mulch level. 
Some permits/leases also have specific grazing utilization standards and other specified 
conditions to protect site specific areas, such as riparian areas, deer fawning habitat, special 
status plant populations, etc. Usually these conditions have been developed in consultation 
and cooperation between BLM and the livestock operator in the form of an allotment 
management plan or other planning effort. 

Often there are occasions when the permittee or lessee elects to graze less than the full 
amount of grazing authorized for the grazing season. Sometimes this is due to 
environmentally-related factors such as droughts or fires and in other cases it may be to 
accommodate the livestock operator's needs to adjust livestock numbers for marketing or 
livestock husbandry purposes. Normally the BLM will authorize the requested amount of 
non-use on a short-term basis for the above given reasons. In some situations the BLM may 
temporarily authorize another qualified applicant to graze the amount of authorized non-use in 
an allotment, but this is seldom done. 

3.2.3 Range Improvements 

In order to facilitate more effective and economical grazing use, structural facilities, commonly 
called range improvements, are installed on the allotments. Some of these improvements, 
such as corrals and other exclosures, are needed to facilitate the handling of livestock; 
others, such as wells and spring developments, are to provide water for the livestock. Other 
improvements, such as fences or strategically located watering or salting facilities, are more 
related to controlling the livestock for effective grazing management, by re-distributing the 
grazing activities throughout the allotment. Traditionally these types of facilities have been 
installed as cooperative ventures between the permittee/lessee and the BLM. Many of these 
types of improvements have been installed and maintained exclusively by the rancher as 
permitted by BLM. Many facilities are also located on privately-owned or non-Federal lands 
within allotment boundaries. In the past, there have been re-vegetation or vegetation 
conversions projects on some allotments or parts of allotments. Examples include re-seeding 
projects using either exotic or native species, and brush control projects using either 
mechanical or chemical methods or prescribed fire. There has been mixed success with all of 
these projects in meeting expectations. 

3.2.4 Grazing Systems 

Most prescribed grazing systems are designed cooperatively between the permittee/lessee 
and the BLM to meet both the needs of the rancher and to protect or enhance some non- 
livestock related rangeland resources. Often there is some compromise by both parties in 
order to achieve objectives. Some of the grazing systems are quite intensive, requiring 
frequent monitoring and oversight by both the livestock operator and the BLM. These 

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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



systems may include scheduling of livestock movement dates between pastures and 
established grazing utilization thresholds either in the form of percent of forage removed or 
grazing stubble height requirements. Other systems may require that a certain amount of 
forage growth be evident prior to any grazing and/or that a specified amount of residual 
vegetation be left after the grazing period. This latter condition is common for the allotments 
in the California annual grasslands. 

As a rule, most of the allotments with a substantial amount of public rangeland have a BLM 
prescribed intensive grazing system. These allotments constitute most of the public land 
acres grazed. On the other hand, allotments containing small amounts of public land, 
particularly those which also contain a majority of privately owned or controlled lands, the 
grazing systems used are more at the discretion of the livestock operator. However, in all 
situations, the permittee/lessee is responsible to adhere to all of the terms and conditions 
identified within the grazing authorization; and BLM is responsible for conformance oversight 
and the monitoring of resource conditions. 

BLM sets priorities for which allotments require intensive grazing management to meet public 
rangeland resource needs, realizing that capabilities are limited to fully prescribe and monitor 
intensive grazing management on all allotments. Appendix 5 identifies the current allotment 
management prioritization in the EIS area. Most of the allotments identified for "I" (intensive or 
improvement needed) management, as well as many of the "M" (moderate or maintain) 
allotments, have prescribed grazing systems. 

Managing grazing livestock to meet both the economic needs of the permittee/lessee and to 
meet the needs of all rangeland resources is very challenging in many situations. Many of 
the allotments, for example, contain relatively small areas of riparian and wetland habitats, 
fragmented throughout the allotment. Because livestock are attracted to these areas for their 
succulent forage, shade and water, it is extremely difficult to sustain the resource values of 
these areas without intensive herding of the animals or installing fences or other barriers (Kie 
and Boroski 1996). The amount of forage, although quite lush, that these areas provide in 
comparison to the total for the allotment is often quite small (bordering on minuscule). 
Grazing systems involving changing the timing or level of grazing use on these areas have 
had mixed success and managing these areas continues to be perplexing. 

Another recent challenge for both the livestock operators and the BLM involves protecting 
populations of threatened and endangered plant and animal species habitat. As an example, 
some of the grazing allotments in the San Joaquin Valley in the Caliente and Hollister 
Resource Areas contain scattered populations of threatened or endangered plant species. 
Much is not yet known about the influence grazing may have on these species. Efforts have 
been made to exclude some of these populations from grazing by installing fences or having 
the livestock operator agree to not graze a specific area during an assumed critical time of 
the year. However, most of these plants are annuals and the locations and magnitude of the 
population often is very dynamic; between growing seasons. Providing ample protection for 
these species remains challenging, particularly in areas where the public rangelands are 
intermingled with comparatively larger amounts of non-Federally owned land. 

Another common issue related to livestock grazing on several allotments relates to 
competition between domestic livestock grazing activities and other ungulates for forage and 
habitat. This is particularly true regarding dietary overlap between domestic livestock, wild 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



horses and burros, and mule deer in the Great Basin ecoregion. There remains considerable 
dispute about what levels of grazing use for livestock can be sustained, and what levels of 
use and population numbers are appropriate for competing ungulate species. 

3.2.5 Monitoring 

Monitoring can be defined as the orderly, repeated collection and analysis of resource data to 
evaluate progress in meeting resource management objectives (this is based on BLM Manual 
6600). The repetition of measurements over time for the purpose of detecting change 
distinguishes monitoring from inventory. 

Types of monitoring. 

Several types of monitoring have been identified. The following two are particularly relevant 
to monitoring livestock grazing (see MacDonald, et al. 1991, for a discussion of these and 
other types of monitoring). 

1 . Trend monitoring. Monitoring to determine the long term trend in a particular 
parameter. For example, is the population of a key species increasing, decreasing, or 
remaining stable at a particular site? 

2. Implementation or compliance monitoring. This type of monitoring assesses 
whether activities were carried out as planned or whether livestock operators are 
complying with the terms of management plans and permits/leases. For example, did 
BLM construct the pasture fence in FY 1 993 as called for in the activity plan? Did the 
operator move the mineral blocks at least 1 mile from the riparian-wetland areas as 
required in the allotment management plan? One of the major types of rangeland 
monitoring, involving the measurement of utilization (or the reverse of utilization- 
residue) is a form of compliance monitoring. We'll discuss this in detail below. 

Levels of monitoring. 

Qualitative and semi-quantitative monitoring. Although many people equate monitoring 
with the gathering of some type of quantitative information, qualitative assessment of the 
condition of rangeland resources is a valid and important form of monitoring. Because of 
constraints related to limited budgets and workforces and the number of allotments for which 
BLM is responsible, qualitative monitoring is the level of monitoring most commonly employed 
in grazing management. Following are types of qualitative and semi-quantitative monitoring: 

1 . Stewardship integrity monitoring. This involves visiting areas to ensure the habitat 
has not changed dramatically, as might occur with fire, overgrazing, trespass mining, 
vehicular use, etc. Aerial photography at specified intervals could also be used to 
assess some of these impacts without actually visiting the site. 

2. Photoplots. Photographs can provide important documentation of changes, 
particularly to habitat, over time. Although listed here under qualitative techniques, 
photoplots can also be used as a form of quantitative measurement. For example, 
several close-up photographs may be taken at a site and the number of individuals of 
the plant species of interest in each photograph counted or estimated. 

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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



3. Presence or absence. Sites are visited to determine if a rare species is still extant or 
to determine whether a noxious weed has invaded a site. 

4. Occurrence mapping. An occurrence of a rare species or a riparian area may be 
mapped by delineating the distributional boundaries on the ground or on aerial 
photos. 

5. Ocular estimates of density. Sites are visited and estimates of abundance made of 
rare or key plant species. The plant species is ranked as to abundance class (e.g., 
not present, 1-10 plants; 11-100; 101-1000; 1001-10,000; etc.). 

6. Utilization pattern mapping. Mapping the utilization made on key forage species is 
an important and effective form of grazing monitoring. The entire allotment or 
individual pasture is canvassed, usually following the removal of livestock, and the 
amount of utilization in different areas on one or more key plant species is assessed. 
Areas are then mapped into several classes based on level of utilization (e.g., no use, 
light use, moderate use, and heavy use). Ocular estimation is often used to assign 
areas to one of these classes, but sometimes quantitative studies are also used (e.g., 
utilization transects are established in different areas of the allotment and used to 
assign these areas to a particular utilization class). 

Utilization mapping is usually done each year for several years to determine if patterns 
are consistent from year to year. Where rest rotation grazing systems are in place, 
yearly mapping is normally conducted until the completion of at least one rotational 
cycle. The results of utilization pattern mapping can then be used to identify 
overutilized areas of the allotment in need of adjustment through different management 
and to locate key areas (discussed below) for future monitoring studies. 

7. Other observations. Additional information deemed to be important may be collected 
based on ocular estimates. Examples are: presence/absence of individuals of a key 
species in different size classes; rough categorical estimate of the percent of plants in 
each size class; presence/absence of a defined condition in individuals at a given 
location (e.g., flowering, diseased, infested by insects, dead); rough categorical 
estimate of the percent of plants exhibiting the condition (e.g., 25-50% flowering). 

The strengths of qualitative and semiquantitative monitoring are that it is quick and therefore 
inexpensive, it allows assessment of large areas, such as complete allotments and pastures, it 
provides insight on condition and management needs, and it can serve as a "red flag" to 
trigger quantitative monitoring. The weaknesses of this type of monitoring are that different 
observers may reach different conclusions when no real difference exists; the interpretation is 
somewhat subjective; it provides purely descriptive information with no potential for analysis; 
and the only detectable change is often dramatic and severe. 

Quantitative monitoring. In performing quantitative monitoring studies you measure 
something. This can mean, for example, that you count the number of individuals of a key 
plant species (either in total or by size class), you estimate its cover in plots, or you measure 
the size (height, cover or both) of individual plants. Quantitative monitoring involves taking a 
sample to estimate something about the parameter of interest, such as the cover or vigor of a 
key species in a pasture. Because sampling is involved, there is error around estimates of 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



these parameters that must be considered in analysis. Statistical analysis takes these 
sampling errors into account when determining whether changes have occurred or thresholds 
(such as utilization levels) have been crossed. 

Key area concept. Many, if not most, rangeland vegetation monitoring studies employ the 
key area concept. Using this approach, key areas are selected (subjectively) that (we hope) 
reflect what is happening on a larger area. Key areas are areas chosen to be representative 
of a larger area (such as a pasture) or critical areas such as riparian-wetland areas and sites 
where endangered species occur. Monitoring studies are then located in these key areas. 

Although we would like to make inferences from our sampling of key areas to the larger areas 
they are chosen to represent, there is no way this can be done in the statistical sense 
because the key areas have been chosen subjectively. An alternative is to sample the larger 
areas, but the constraints of time and money coupled with the tremendous variability usually 
encountered when sampling very large areas often makes this impossible. The key area 
concept represents a compromise. 

Because statistical inferences can be made only to the key areas that are actually sampled, it 
is important to develop objectives that are specific to these key areas. It is equally important 
to make it clear that actions will be taken based on what happens in the key area, even when 
it can't be demonstrated statistically that what is happening in the key area is happening in 
the area it was chosen to represent. It is also important to base objectives and management 
actions on each key area separately. Values from different key areas should never be 
averaged. 

Key species concept. Just as the key area concept is a compromise between sampling an 
entire allotment versus sampling only a portion of it, the key species concept is a 
compromise between tracking change in all plant species versus tracking change in those 
species that are most likely to be affected by management. The latter species are called key 
species and are chosen based on several criteria. First, they are usually species that are 
preferred forage for livestock. Thus, they can be expected to increase under proper grazing 
management and decrease under improper grazing management. They therefore provide 
valuable information on the success of management. Second, they should be common 
enough that monitoring them will not be overly difficult or intensive. Third, changes in the 
distribution, vigor, or abundance of these key species should be representative of similar 
changes to other species deemed to be important to the plant community desired for a 
particular site. In this instance key species serve as keystone or indicator species. A fourth 
criteria that can be employed is legal status: special status plants may be singled out to be 
monitored regardless of their rarity or whether they function as keystone or indicator species. 

Long-term (trend) monitoring. What most interests the range manager is how ecosystems 
(including plant and animal communities and abiotic factors such as soil) change over time in 
response to management. Usually only vegetation is monitored and an assumption made 
that if certain types and amounts of desired vegetation are present then the desired animals 
and desired soil conditions are also present. The assessment is made through either 
quantitative or qualitative monitoring studies usually located in key areas of the allotment. 
Photoplots and checklists are the principal qualitative monitoring method used in trend 
monitoring. An example of the checklist approach is the proper functioning condition 



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checklist used in riparian areas. Although this approach can be considered to be inventory, 
its use at the same site on two or more occasions is a form of monitoring. 

Quantitative monitoring methods are several and usually entail the measurement of some 
attribute of key species at key areas. The Interagency Technical Reference, Sampling 
Vegetation Attributes (BLM et al. 1996a), includes most of the types of range studies 
employed by BLM nationwide. In the EIS area the two most common quantitative trend 
methods involve the use of cover and frequency measurements. 

Cover measurements entail the estimation of the percentage of ground surface covered by 
vegetation. Three types of cover are measured, depending on the measurement method and 
the biology of the target plant(s). Canopy cover is the area of ground covered by the vertical 
projection of the outermost spread of the foliage of plants, including any small openings in 
the canopy. Canopy cover measurements are used in estimating the cover of shrubs, trees, 
and herbaceous plants. The line intercept method (BLM et al. 1 996a) is most often used to 
estimate shrub and tree cover or, alternatively, aerial photographs are used. Canopy cover of 
herbaceous plants is usually made using plots, such as those described for the Daubenmire 
method (BLM et al. 1996a). Foliar cover is the area of ground covered by the vertical 
projection of the aerial portions of plants, with small openings in the canopy excluded. This 
is the type of cover measured by the point intercept method (BLM et al. 1 996a), a method 
used primarily for herbaceous plants. Basal cover is the area of ground surface occupied by 
the basal portion of plants. This is the type of cover often used to monitor changes in 
bunchgrasses or tree stems. The basal area of bunchgrasses is estimated using line 
intercepts or estimation in plots. Several methods are applicable to the estimation of tree 
basal cover; these, however, are rarely used in grazing-related monitoring and will therefore 
not be discussed here. 

Depending on objectives, cover is measured on key species, on all species, or on broad 
cover categories (e.g., live vegetation, litter, bare ground, and gravel). Total ground cover is 
important in determining whether sites are adequately protected from accelerated wind and 
water erosion. Cover of key species is important in determining whether objectives relative to 
increasing or maintaining the key species are being met. 

Changes in the canopy and foliar cover of herbaceous species can be difficult to interpret 
because they can vary widely with climatic fluctuations. It is therefore difficult to tell whether 
changes are due to grazing management, weather, or a combination of both. Basal cover is 
much less sensitive to climatic fluctuations and a better indicator of trend in those species 
that are amenable to basal cover measurement (e.g., perennial bunchgrasses). The canopy 
and foliar cover of most woody shrubs does not vary nearly as much as herbaceous plants 
with climatic fluctuations, and these types of cover are often used to assess trend due to 
management (sub-shrubs, however, can present the same interpretation problems as 
herbaceous plants). 

Frequency is another attribute often used to assess long-term trend on rangelands. It is one 
of the easiest and fastest methods available for monitoring vegetation. Frequency is the 
number of plots (called quadrats) occupied by a particular species, expressed as a 
percentage. For example, let's say we decide to sample 100 randomly placed 1m x 1m 
quadrats in a key area. If 40 of these have Key Species A in them, then we say that the 
frequency of Key Species A in that key area is 40 percent (note that we are interested only 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



whether the species is present or absent in each quadrat-a species is present in a quadrat if 
1 or if 100 plants occur in it). We then compare this 40 percent frequency with the value we 
come up with the next time the key area is sampled to determine if the trend in this key 
species is up, down, or static. The best results are obtained when frequencies range from 
20-80 percent. 

Unlike cover, which is not dependent on the type or size of sampling unit used, frequency is 
only meaningful when the same quadrat size and shape is used in each year of 
measurement. When measuring the frequency of more than one plant species, it is often 
difficult to use the same size quadrat and maintain a frequency of 20-80 percent for all 
species. In these situations a nested frequency quadrat is often used. For example, within a 
1m x 1m quadrat, three other quadrat sizes, 50cm x 50cm, 30cm x 30cm, and 10cm x 10cm, 
are nested. At each random placement of the quadrat, the smallest to the largest quadrat 
size is searched for the target species. If the species is found in the smallest quadrat, then it 
is also found in all other quadrats; if it is not found in the smallest quadrat, then the next 
smallest quadrat is searched, and so on. Once the first year's data are collected, optimal 
quadrat sizes can be determined for each species. 

Changes in frequency can be due to changes in density or spatial pattern. Interpretation can 
be difficult because of this. However, if the data are recorded on a quadrat-by-quadrat basis, 
if seedlings and established plants are recorded separately, and if other trend data such as 
cover are collected at the same time, interpretation becomes easier. 

The vertical structure of vegetation can be extremely important to wildlife. This is especially 
true in riparian areas. Most offices monitor this through the use of photoplots and other 
qualitative methods. Some offices use quantitative techniques such as the cover board 
method (BLM et al. 1996a) to monitor vertical structure. 

Short-term (utilization) monitoring. Except for very favorable sites, such as riparian-wetland 
areas, changes in vegetation attributes such as frequency and cover can be very slow, 
making it hard to detect these changes until many years or even decades have passed. This 
lag time not only makes it difficult to assess the effects of management, it can place the 
natural resources at risk: if the changes, once they are detected, are in the wrong direction, 
correcting this downward trend may be all that more difficult or even impossible. 
Supplementing long-term monitoring with short-term monitoring studies is a means of 
reducing this risk. These short-term studies either monitor the amount of utilization made on 
key plant species or they monitor the amount of plant material remaining after grazing (the 
latter is referred to as residue). 

Management objectives are developed that specify how much utilization is allowed on key 
species or, alternatively, the minimum amount of residue allowed before livestock are moved 
off a pasture. Utilization or residue is then estimated through monitoring studies, and 
management actions implemented accordingly. These management actions can consist of 
taking immediate action in the same year (i.e., immediately moving livestock out of the 
pasture once the utilization or residue threshold is approached or crossed) and of making 
long-term changes to the livestock grazing on an allotment (i.e., reducing stocking rate or 
season of use if utilization levels are consistently high or residue levels consistently low). 



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Several methods are used by different field offices in California to estimate utilization. The 
Interagency Technical Reference, Utilization Studies and Residual Measurements (BLM et al. 
1996b), describes these methods. 

There are at least two implicit assumptions made when setting management objectives based 
on utilization and residue. One relates to the vigor of the key species considered to be 
important to maintaining or improving sites. The assumption is that if these key species are 
grazed conservatively they will improve in vigor, which will result both in increased production 
of existing plants and increased recruitment of additional plants. The other assumption 
relates to the protection of soil: if enough of the vegetation is left after grazing, the soil will be 
adequately protected from accelerated erosion. These assumptions, while reasonable, need 
to be reinforced through long-term monitoring. The levels of utilization or residue also need 
to be tested through long-term monitoring (e.g., is 40 percent utilization too high or 500 
pounds of residue per acre too low to ensure good plant vigor or good soil protection?). 

Most current BLM land use plans allow for utilization of key perennial grass species of 50 
percent of the annual above-ground production (some plans specify a range of 40-60 percent 
utilization). Holechek (1991), however, points out that: 

A 50% use level works well in the flat, humid regions of the Great Plains and 
Southeast because of their high productivity and high adaptability of the plants 
to grazing. However in most cases it causes range destruction in the rugged, 
arid ranges of the West. Research shows stocking rates that involve a 30 to 
40% forage use level will enhance range recovery, maintain adequate food and 
cover for wildlife, protect soil resources and will give the highest long term 
economic returns with the least risk on nearly all of the western range types 
(see reviews by Holechek et al. 1989, Vallentine 1990). 

The recommendations of Holechek et al. (1989 and 1995) and Holechek (1991) are given in 
Table 3.2.5, along with the sources behind these recommendations. 

On annual grasslands, minimum levels of residue are set. Because these communities are 
dominated by annual species, the residue dries out during the summer (even the above 
ground portions of most of the native perennial species, such as the several members of the 
lily family often present, dry out during this period). The goal is to maintain a certain level of 
residue, usually called residual dry matter (RDM), until the first fall rains (see the section on 
Major Vegetation Types for more information on why these RDM levels are important). Short- 
term monitoring consists of estimating the amount of RDM (in pounds per acre or kilograms 
per hectare) remaining in key areas during the period when livestock are present. When RDM 
levels become close or cross the prescribed threshold, livestock are removed from the 
allotment. Most offices use the comparative yield method (BLM et al. 1996b) to estimate RDM 
levels, but reference photographs showing the different RDM levels are also used for this 
purpose. 



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Chapter 3 



Table 3.2.5: Utilization guidelines for different range types in the EIS area (adapted 
from Holechek et al. 1995 and Holechek 1991). 


Average Annual 
Precipitation 


Percent Use 
of Key 

Species for 
Moderate 
Grazing 1 


Range Types 


References 


cm. 


in. 


13-30 


4-8 


25-35 


Salt desert shrubland 


Hutchings and Stewart (1 953) 


13-30 


8-12 


30-40 


Semidesert grass and 
shrubland 


Valentine (1970) 
Martin and Cable (1 974) 


13-30 


8-12 


30-40 


Sagebrush grassland 


Pechanec and Stewart (1 949) 
Laycock and Conrad (1 981 ) 


25-100 


10-40 


50-60 


California annual 
grassland 


Hooper and Heady (1970) 
Bartolome et al. (1980) 
Rosiere (1 987) 


40-1 30 


16-50 


30-40 


Coniferous forest 


Pickford and Reid (1 948) 
Johnson (1953) 
Skovlinetal. (1976) 


40-130 


16-50 


30-40 


Mountain shrubland 


Pickford and Reid (1 948) 
Skovlinetal. (1976) 


40-1 30 


16-50 


30-40 


Oak woodland 


Brown (1982) 2 


25-45 


10-18 


30-40 


Pinyon-juniper 
woodland 




16-50 


20-30 


20-30 


Alpine tundra 


Thilenius (1 979) 



1 Ranges in good condition and/or grazed during the dormant season can withstand the higher utilization level. Those 
in poor condition or grazed during active growth should receive the lower utilization level. 

2 These guidelines apply to oak woodlands with a perennial grass understory. 

Residue is also used to set grazing management objectives for the herbaceous vegetation in 
riparian-wetland areas. Most of these plants are perennials that remain green throughout the 
summer. Consequently, objectives normally set minimum stubble height levels instead of 
production levels. These stubble heights may be set for key species only or for all graminoid 
plants (grass-like plants, including grasses, sedges, and rushes). Monitoring then consists of 
estimating the stubble heights at key areas through sampling, and moving livestock from the 
pasture or making other management changes when minimum thresholds are approached or 
crossed. See BLM et al. (1 996b) for the method used to estimate stubble heights. Qualitative 
methods such as photographs are also used. 

It is also important to estimate utilization on shrubs, where these species are important 
components of the ecosystem. Areas that support shrub species that are used by livestock 
and wildlife include: (1) riparian areas, which often support willows and other shrubs; (2) 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



areas within the sagebrush steppe where bitterbrush and other shrubs are important 
components; and (3) areas where saltbushes and other related shrubs occur, both in the 
sagebrush steppe and annual grassland vegetation types. There are three primary methods 
used to monitor shrub utilization: (1) the twig length measurement method, (2) the Cole 
browse method, and (3) the extensive browse method. These are described in BLM et al. 
(1996b). 

Analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. Data collected as part of quantitative studies must 
be analyzed using appropriate statistical methods. Confidence intervals must be constructed 
around estimates of utilization levels and significance tests applied to trend data to determine 
if observed changes are significant. The results of this analysis must then be interpreted and 
evaluated. Recent reviews of monitoring activities conducted by the BLM California State 
Office have revealed that while much effort has been expended in collecting monitoring data, 
too little effort has been directed toward analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. In addition, 
many field offices do not have personnel with the necessary expertise to analyze monitoring 
data and design monitoring studies that have the power to detect changes that are 
biologically significant. As a consequence, very few allotment evaluations have been 
conducted over the past few years, and few management changes have been implemented 
as a result of monitoring. Steps are being taken to correct this problem, but much remains to 
be done. 

Existing situation. Monitoring and existing data indicate that 1 1 4 (1 6%) of the 705 grazing 
allotments in the project area do not meet one or more of the fundamentals of rangeland 
health. However, only 82 (12%) have problems that are related to livestock grazing. Six 
allotments have problems stemming from recreational use, 18 from fire (too much or not 
enough), and 72 have problems related to roads, mining, and wild horses and burros. There 
are 122 allotments where we currently have insufficient monitoring data to determine whether 
they are meeting the fundamentals or not. 

A determination has not been made of which fundamentals are not being met due to which 
causes. However, fundamentals related to upland soils are not met on 5 allotments, 
fundamentals related to riparian function are not met on 84, fundamentals related to water 
quality are not met on 69, and fundamentals related to wildlife habitat are not met on 71 
allotments. 

Many of these allotments will need some type of grazing related management changes in 
order to meet the fundamentals for rangeland health. Some of these allotments, however, are 
already progressing towards meeting the fundamentals due to previous management 
initiatives. Also, in most cases, it is only a small acreage in an allotment that fails to meet the 
fundamentals. 



3.3 UPLANDS 

3.3.1 Soils 

Soil characteristics vary considerably throughout the affected area. Soils which support 
livestock grazing are six inches to over sixty inches deep; and the soil textures include nearly 
every category defined, ranging from coarse textured "loamy sand" soils to fine textured "clay" 

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soils. Similarly, other soil properties which influence vegetation and watershed function, such 
as permeability, infiltration, fertility, structure, and organic matter content, vary throughout the 
broad geographic area. 

The soil characteristics at any specific site are the result of a number of factors which 
influence soil formation rates and site stability. Jenny (1 980) expressed a relationship for the 
ecosystem in which the soil is a function of climate, time, parent material, relief, vegetation, 
and organisms. The soil properties expressed are either in equilibrium with the factors and 
the ecosystem or changing in response to changes within the ecosystem. Human 
intervention which modifies any of the factors, vegetation for instance, can have a dramatic 
effect on this equilibrium. 

Most, of the affected areas have modern soil surveys which describe the soil characteristics 
and geographic extent of the various soil types. These soil surveys contain the base line 
data necessary to define "properly functioning condition" of the soil resource. 

The interactions between the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and plants 
strongly influence soil stability and watershed function. Livestock grazing activities can 
directly affect this interaction and watershed health. Hoof action on soils with optimum 
moisture content can modify soil structure and compact soil layers. Compacted soil reduces 
root penetration, seedling germination, water infiltration rates, and biological activity, limiting 
the soil volume available for moisture retention and plant support, and increasing runoff rates. 
The results can be changes in the plant species composition, reduction of vegetative biomass 
production, and increased hillslope and streambank erosion. 

Plant litter plays an important role in soil stability, energy flow and watershed function. 
Removal of vegetation by livestock grazing can reduce litter production and accumulation. 
Litter provides surface cover which protects the soil from erosion and contributes organic 
carbon and nutrients to the soil. Organic carbon is at the base of the soil microorganism 
food chain. Soil microorganisms release nitrogen, phosphorus and other plant nutrients, and 
build soild structure and porosity. Seventy percent of ecosystem biodiversity occurs below 
the soil surface. 

Both historic livestock management practices and fire suppression activities have modified 
plant community composition, often resulting in reduced soil cover and increased bare soil 
surface area. Increased erosion rates and water runoff rates may occur as a result of this 
change in equilibrium. The changes will likely continue until another equilibria state or 
balance is achieved. 

The current condition of the soil resources is displayed in Table 3.3.1 - Soil Resource 
Condition Status. This information was developed at the field level by individual Resource 
Area staff, those individuals with the most current knowledge of local resource conditions and 
trends. The soil condition standards used for this comparison are those described for each 
alternative proposed in this document. They include: 

1 . Soils exhibit functional biological, chemical and physical characteristics that are 
appropriate to soil type, climate, desired plant community, and land form. 



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2. Precipitation is able to enter the soil surface and move through the soil profile at 
appropriate rates. There are little or no development of physical soil crusts/surface 
sealing, or compaction layers below the soil surface. 

3. The soil is adequately protected against accelerated erosion, with sufficient ground 
cover (plants, rock, gravel, etc) and sufficient litter/residual dry matter. There is 
minimal evidence of accelerated erosion in the form of rills, gullies, pedestalling of 
plants or rocks, or deposition of alluvial or aeolian material. Any such evidence does 
not exceed the natural rates for the site. 

4. The soil fertility is maintained at appropriate levels, as shown by a diversity of plant 
species (and age classes in perennial areas), with a variety of root depths, is present, 
plants are vigorous during the growing season, and they represent the desired plant 
community. 

5. Biological soil crusts are intact, and in place, where appropriate. 



Table 3.3.1 : Soil Resource Condition Status Within Grazing Aliotments* 


Acres (1 000's) which meet 
soil condition standards 


Acres (1 000's) which do not 

meet soil condition 

standards 


Acres (1 000's) with 

Insufficient Knowledge to 

Determine 


4,168 


120 


112 



(This data was developed by Resource Area staff based upon major known problems. More site specific information 
will be known as we actually complete inventories of areas using the Rangeland Health standards.) 

Those areas where soil conditions fail to meet the standards described in the alternatives are 
functioning below the thresholds suggested for proper watershed function. 

Many Resource Areas have small areas that are dominated by noxious weeds such as yellow 
star thistle, Medusahead and tarweed. A significant factor in watershed function resulting 
from this condition is the potential loss of root mass and root depth associated with healthy 
perennial grasses. This root distribution and mass contributes to fertility, organic matter, 
water intake, aggregate stability, and erosion reduction. A loss of perennials and replacement 
with annuals results in less root mass, reduced rooting depth, and may contribute to greater 
runoff, compaction, increased erosion, and loss of fertility and site capability. 

Several allotments in northeastern California are dominated by the noxious weed 
Medusahead and lack a significant component of perennial grasses. This condition is mostly 
associated with soils that have a heavy clay texture that expands and contracts with changing 
moisture content. This physical phenomina creates poor seedling establishment conditions, 
making native plant recovery difficult and slow. As a result of the greater flamability of the 
Medusahead over perennial vegetation, frequent fires have reduced the shrub component, 
further altering the vegetative diversity. The condition trend in these areas is currently static, 
and is unlikely to be changed by changing grazing management.Other reasons for failure to 
meet soils standards are recent fire disturbance, improper grazing management, and poor 
road maintenance by county road crews. 



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3.3.2 Vegetation 

Major Vegetation Types 

Livestock grazing occurs in a variety of natural vegetation types within the three major 
Floristic provinces recognized by Hickman (1993): 1) the California Floristic Province, 2) the 
Great Basin Floristic Province, and 3) the Desert Province. This EIS evaluates grazing 
management in the California and Great Basin Floristic Provinces (see Map 4). Grazing on 
BLM lands within these two provinces occurs mostly on annual grasslands in the coastal, 
Great Valley, and Sierran and Cascade foothill regions, and in the sagebrush steppe 
vegetation of the eastern Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, and intermountain regions. Grazing 
occurs in riparian and wetland vegetation in both of these provinces. 

Many different systems have been devised to classify the vegetation of California. The most 
recent of these is one by Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1995), which classifies vegetation to the 
level of series. Series are defined based on the dominant overstory species. Sawyer and 
Keeler-Wolf describe more than 250 series for California, and additionally describe other 
habitat types such as vernal pools. A classification system to be used in conjunction with the 
California Wildlife-Habitat Relationships (WHR) System is presented in Mayer and 
Laudenslayer (1988). That treatment recognizes about 50 habitat types, based mostly on 
vegetation, for the State. Many other systems have been proposed and used to varying 
degrees. These include those developed by Holland (1986), Parker and Matyas (1979), Barry 
(1989), Munz and Keck (1959), Cheatham and Haller (1975), and Kuchler (1977), among 
others. A useful crosswalk to those classification systems developed before 1 988 can be 
found in de Becker and Sweet (1988). 

This document addresses only those California vegetation types found on rangelands 1 
managed by the BLM that are under permit or lease for grazing by domestic livestock. For 
analysis purposes we combine the 14 WHR habitat descriptions found in Mayer and 
Laudenslayer (1988) that apply to these lands into three major vegetation types: 1) annual 
grasslands, 2) sagebrush steppe, and 3) wetland-riparian. Table 3.3.2(a) (page 3-32) shows 
how these major types relate to the 14 WHR types. The table also lists the most 
representative and widespread vegetation series of Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1 995) found 
within each of the three major types. We address annual grasslands and sagebrush steppe 
below; wetland-riparian vegetation is covered in Section 3.4.2. 

Annual Grasslands. 

This major vegetation type occurs entirely within the California Floristic Province (Map 4), an 
area often also referred to as "cismontane California," described by Munz (1 979) as those 
parts of the State lying between the crest of the Cascade-Sierra axis and the coast. 2 
Herbaceous vegetation, usually dominated by annual grass species, is the feature common to 



1 Rangelands are lands on which the native vegetation (climax or potential) is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, 
or shrubs (SRM 1989). 

2 Cismontane also refers to the area of southern California between the coast and the crest of the several ranges that form the 
divide between desert and coastal drainages. This area of cismontane California, however, is outside the region covered by this EIS. 

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this type. These grasslands often occur as treeless expanses in and on both sides of the 
Central Valley, as well as on ridges and south-facing slopes of the outer Coast Ranges. In 
the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Cascade, and Coast Ranges, these grasses also occur as 
an understory to various tree species, most notably blue oak (Quercus douglasii), valley oak 
(Q. lobata), interior live oak {Q. wislizenii), and foothill pine (Pinus sabiniana). Near the coast, 
the grasses can form an understory under coast live oak {Quercus agrifolia) and other tree 
species. In the southern San Joaquin Valley these grasslands also occur as understory to 
shrubs, principally allscale (Atriplex polycarpa). Annual grasses can also occur within areas 
dominated by chaparral and coastal scrub habitats, but usually only for brief periods of time 
following disturbance, such as fire or mechanical manipulation for range improvement (the 
latter does not occur on BLM lands). Because of the limited extent of livestock grazing within 
chaparral and coastal sage scrub, those communities are not addressed further here. 

Native perennial grasses formerly dominated most of the area currently occupied by annual 
grass species. Purple needlegrass (Nasella pulchra) is considered by Heady (1 977) to have 
been the dominant species in most of these grasslands (except near the coast), with many 
other perennial species occuring as associates, including nodding needlegrass (N. cernua), 
one-sided bluegrass (Poa secunda ssp. secunda), California fescue (Festuca califomica), blue 
wildrye (Elymus glaucus), junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), and California melic (Melica 
califomica). Native annual grasses also occurred, probably in areas disturbed by fire or other 
forces (Heady 1977). These included annual fescue (Vulpia microstachys) and old-field three- 
awn (Aristida oligantha). Near the coast, different perennial grass species dominated, 
particularly California oatgrass (Danthonia califomica) and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis). 

These perennial grasses have been replaced throughout most of their former range by annual 
grass species native to the Mediterranean region. Burcham (1 957) well documents this 
replacement of the pristine grassland, and Heady (1977) summarizes it. The replacement 
appears to be the result of complex interactions beginning in the mid-1 800's between 1) the 
invasion by alien plant species; 2) the introduction of domestic livestock, resulting in changes 
in timing and pattern of grazing; 3) drought; 4) cultivation, and 5) fire (Heady 1977; Burcham 
1957). The result was that, by the end of the 19th Century, the nature of the once perennial 
grasslands had been completely changed. 

Stromberg and Griffin (1 996) suggest, based on studies at the Hastings Reservation in 
Monterey County, that past cultivation, including historical disking that may not be at all 
obvious today, may have had much more of an impact on replacement of native perennial 
grass stands than previously realized. They note that old fields within the Reservation, 
ungrazed now for more than 60 years, have remained relatively unchanged, with annual 
grasses dominating, and few, if any, perennial grasses moving back in. They hypothesize 
that the initial cultivation eliminated the perennial grasses, and that gopher activity in these 
old fields has helped to maintain the annual grasses at the expense of the perennials 
following the cessation of cultivation. 

The present-day grasslands are dominated by annual grasses and forbs in the ground layer. 
Practically all of the annual grasses were introduced from Europe and are now naturalized to 
the extent that Heady (1977) believes they must be considered "new natives." Common 
among these are soft chess [Bromus hordeaceus), ripgut (S. diandrus), red brome 
(B. madritensis ssp. rubens), wild oat {Avena fatua), slender wild oat (A. barbata), European 
hairgrass (Aira caryophylla), dogtail [Cynosurus echinatus), along with many others. Annual 

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forbs are also common in the grassland. Some of these, such as filaree (Erodium cicutarium), 
storksbill (£. botrys), and various species of mustard {Brassica spp.), are, like the annual 
grasses, introduced from Europe. Many others, however, are natives. These include 
goldfields {Lasthenia spp.), butter-and-eggs (Triphysaria eriantha), various species of lupines 
(Lupinus spp.), owl's-clovers (Castilleja spp.), clarkia (Clarkia spp.), and many more. Also 
common are native perennial herbs from the lily family, such as blue dicks (Dichelostemma 
capitatum), wild onions {Allium spp.), mariposa lilies (Calochortus spp.), soap root 
(Chlorogalum pomeridianum), and brodiaea (Brodiaea spp.). 

Although they do not come close to their former dominance, native perennial grasses have 
not disappeared from the annual grasslands. Large stands of these grasses are rare, 
however, and even where they are found annual grasses are intermingled with them. The 
exception to this is on serpentine substrate, where perennial bunchgrasses often still 
dominate, except where the soil has been disturbed by gophers (Hobbs and Mooney 1 985) 
and heavy livestock grazing (Willoughby, unpub. data). Efforts to restore areas within the 
annual grassland type to perennial grasslands have increased in recent years. The Nature 
Conservancy (TNC) has been particularly active in some of these efforts at various preserves 
throughout the State. TNC, BLM, and the California Department of Fish and Game are 
collaborating in attempting to restore portions of the Carrizo Plain to perennial grassland. 

Vegetation Dynamics. The annual grasslands vary in species composition and total 
production both geographically and temporally. Precipitation is probably the most significant 
driving force behind both types of variation. With respect to geographical variation, Janes 
(1 969, summarized in Heady 1 977) sampled 20 sites along a transect running from the 
southern San Joaquin Valley north to southern Humboldt County. Soil depth, aspect, and 
percent slope were similar at each site. Average rainfall, based on data from the weather 
station nearest each site, ranged from 13 cm in the south to 204 cm in the north. On sites 
with less than 19 cm of rainfall, red brome and filaree were the dominant species; these 
species continued to occur in measurable quantities up to about 30 cm of rainfall. Soft 
chess, ripgut, and storksbill were the most common species above 20 cm of rainfall. Large 
differences in species composition and production can be found over short distances 
(McNaughton 1968). In addition to rainfall differences, microtopographical differences are 
important in explaining these differences (Evans and Young 1989). 

Temporal variation is equally apparent in annual grasslands. Tremendous differences in 
species composition and total production occur at the same site in different years. This is 
primarily a function of the amount and timing of rainfall and fall temperatures (Pitt and Heady 
1978; Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf 1995). Bartolome (1976) and Bartolome et al. (1980) have 
shown however, that, in addition to weather, the amount of residual dry matter (RDM) left on a 
site at the beginning of the fall rains has a marked influence on total production of that site in 
the following spring. Heady (1 977) summarizes research on the influence of RDM on species 
composition. Sampson et al. (1951) showed shorter species prevail under heavy grazing (low 
RDM at the beginning of the growing season), whereas taller species dominate with lighter 
grazing pressure (high RDM at the beginning of the growing season). Table 3.3.2, 
reproduced from Heady (1977), lists those species usually found in what Heady calls low, 
middle, and climax stages of succession. These stages correspond roughly to low, medium, 
and high amounts of RDM, respectively. 



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TABLE 3.3.2: Plants Usually 


Found in Climax, Middle and Low Successional Stages* 


Climax 


Middle in Succession 


Low in Succession 


Slender wild oat 


American wild carrot 
(Daucus pusillus) (N) 


European hairgrass 


Wild oat 


Storksbill 


Little quaking grass (Briza 
minor) 


Soft chess 


Brome fescue (Vulpia 
bromoides) 


Turkey mullein 
(Eremocarpus setigerus) (N) 


Ripgut 


Rattail fescue (Vulpia 
myuros) 


Mediterannean barley 
(Hordeum marinum ssp. 
gussoneanum) 


Red brome 


Nit grass (Gasiridium 
ventricosum) 


Tarweeds (Madia spp.) (N) 


Filaree 


Burclover (Medicago 
polymorpha) 


Miniature lupine (Lupinus 
bicolor) (N) 


Medusahead 




Clovers (Trifolium spp.) (N) 



These successional stages correspond to high, medium, and low amounts of RDM, respectively, at the beginning of the 
growing season in the fall. Scientific names are given for those species not discussed in the text. (N) = native 
species. 



Fire likely played an important role in the pristine grassland and was one of the driving forces 
behind its evolution (Heady 1972). Heady (1977) surmises that burning in the grassland likely 
decreased following the discovery of gold, because increased cultivation and overgrazing 
reduced the amount of fuel available. In more recent times fires suppression activities have 
reduced the extent of fires in the annual grasslands. Heady (1 977) maintains that fires in the 
current annual grasslands have little permanent effect. Where perennial grasses still persist, 
however, there is at least circumstantial evidence to suggest that repeated burning favors 
these at the expense of annual grasses. D. Taylor (per. comm.) has studied the grasslands at 
the Lawrence Livermore Lab's Site 300 facitiliy near Livermore. Grazing was removed from 
the property in the early 1940's. About half of the acreage has been burned annually in late 
spring to reduce the fire hazard, while the rest of the facitily has remained unburned (except 
for occasional wildfire). After more than 50 years of no grazing the unburned portion remains 
dominated by annual grasses such as ripgut and soft chess. The burned portion, though still 
supporting annual grasses, has what Dr. Taylor describes as some of the best stands of 
native grassland he has seen in the California Floristic Province. These stands are dominated 
by one-sided bluegrass. 

Fire also appears to provide a tool for eliminating or at least controlling the invasive weed, 
medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae). Although Heady (1977) states that fire is 
ineffectual in controlling this species, The Nature Conservancy has had considerable success 
in recent years in eliminating this species from its Jepson Prairie Preserve in Solano County 



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by burning in late spring, before medusahead, a late-maturing species, has set seed (Pollak 
and Kan, in press). 

In addition to medusahead, yellow-star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is an important weed 
pest of annual grasslands. Besides being poisonous to horses, this introduced weed 
outcompetes native plants and reduces biological diversity. Yellow-star thistle is so 
widespread in the annual grassland that until recently there appeared little hope for control. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture are 
experimenting with biological control agents. One of these, the hairy weevil {Eustenopus 
villosus), which preys on the seed heads of the plant, was recently released on BLM lands in 
the Carrizo Plain Natural Area (it has been used on private lands for about the last five years). 
Fire has also been used effectively. For example, Hastings and DiTomaso (1 996) report that 
three years of burning at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County have resulted in a 99 
percent decrease in the soil seed bank of yellow star-thistle. Victory over this species on a 
large-scale basis, however, remains many years away. 

In the San Joaquin Valley, introduced and native plants serve as hosts to the beet leafhopper, 
an introduced species that is the vector of curly top virus, an economically important disease 
of tomatoes, sugar beets, beans, melons, and several species of ornamental flowering plants. 
Key host plants in the late winter and spring are grassland species, including filaree, annual 
plantain {Plantago erecta), and annual peppergrass (Lepidium nitidum). These are species 
that frequent dry, sparsely vegetated south-facing slopes. These species tend to be more 
numerous in dry years and/or in areas that are too heavily grazed, and these situations 
consequently favor the beet leafhopper. During the summer season the most important plant 
host for the leafhopper is Russian thistle (Salsola tragus), which is often the only green, 
succulent plant remaining on many rangeland sites during that time of the year. Russian 
thistle usually invades sites that have been physically disturbed. Although many factors such 
as fires, roads, or surface blading provide opportunities for the invasion of Russian thistle, 
improper livestock grazing, too, can play a role in its spread. 

Vernal Pools. Vernal pools are an important feature of many of the annual grasslands of 
California. These are small depressions, usually underlain by hardpan, that fill with water 
during the winter (Holland and Jain 1977). As these pools dry up in the spring, many plant 
species flower, often forming showy rings around the pool. Many of the plant species found 
in vernal pools are totally restricted to that habitat. Because of the demanding nature of the 
vernal pool habitat-requiring species to begin growth while submerged in water-most of the 
introduced grassland species have not been able to successfully colonize vernal pools. The 
result is that most vernal pool species are native. Characteristic vernal pool species include 
various species of downingia (Downingia spp.), {Lasthenia spp.), coyote-thistle (Eryngium 
spp.), popcorn flowers (Plagiohothrys spp.), meadowfoams {Limnanthes spp.), water pygmy 
(Crassula aquatica), water-starwort (Callitriche marginata), semaphore grass (Pleuropogon 
calicomicus), and whiteflower navarretia {Navarretia leucocephala). 

Many vernal pool habitats have been lost to farming and urbanization. As a result, several 
animal and plant species that live in vernal pools have been listed as threatened or 
endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Barry (1995) reviewed the effects of livestock grazing on vernal pools. While recognizing that 
improperly managed grazing can have deleterious effects both on vernal pools and 

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surrounding annual grassland communities, she asserts that properly managed grazing 
maintains and enhances vernal pool vegetation by preventing the invasion of weedy species. 
Stone et al. (1988) noted that moderate grazing (defined as leaving at least 300-600 pounds 
of residual dry matter following grazing) had little impact on members of the rare grass tribe 
Orcuttieae - of which two species, slender orcutt grass {Orcuttia tenuis) and San Joaquin 
Valley orcutt grass (Orcuttia inaequalis) occur on BLM lands. The only possible exception to 
this conclusion is Greene's tuctoria {Tuctoria greener), a species that is not known to occur 
on BLM lands. Zedler (1987), in looking at Southern California vernal pools, concluded that 
moderate cattle or horse grazing does not seem to threaten the persistence of vernal pool 
plants. This also was the consensus of vernal pool experts at a January 21-22 meeting of the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Central Valley Vernal Pool Recovery Team, where those present 
agreed that properly managed livestock grazing is compatible with the recovery of listed and 
candidate vernal pool plants and animals (John Willoughby, pers. comm.). Certainly the fact 
that vernal pool habitats continue to function more than 200 years following the introduction 
of domestic livestock into California is evidence for the compatibility of livestock grazing, at 
least at certain levels, with vernal pool habitat. 

Effects of grazing on shrubs and trees associated with annual grasslands. Although 
grasses and other herbaceous plant species are considered the most desirable livestock 
forage and provide the major source of forage for livestock, shrubs and tree species, 
particularly at the seedling and juvenile stages, often are consumed or trampled by livestock. 
Some woody species have been negatively affected by the season-long grazing that has 
historically occurred on annual rangelands. Allscaie, a common shrub of annual rangelands 
in the southern San Joaquin Valley, has been particularly impacted. Its range and extent 
appears to have been greatly reduced even in the last hundred years. Ian McMillan, long- 
time cattleman and naturalist in the area, has given the following statement with respect to 
this species (quoted in Sampson and Jesperson 1 963; the "Atriplex" referred to in 
McMillan's statement is Atriplex polycarpa, allscaie): 

As a boy I learned from the old vaqueros, that fat cattle were marketed in early 
spring off the ranges along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that were 
then shrub-grassland with Atriplex the dominant shrub. This plant feeds from a 
deep taproot in the sub-surface strata and puts out succulent, nutritious foliage 
in the fall months when other forage is dry. It blooms and seeds in late fall. 
This fall growing habit and the ability to put out new growth in dry years when 
annual plants fail, makes this plant a 'sitting duck' for intensive year-round 
grazing practices. On the other hand, when browsed only to the extent of 
annual increment, the plants thrive, and I know of stands that have been 
pastured on this basis as long as I can remember.. ..If I were running things in 
the interests of long term human welfare the Atriplex would be given back a big 
portion of its former domain. 

Thus, timing of grazing can allow livestock to make use of annual plant species, while 
minimizing deleterious use of allscaie. Moving livestock from pastures in which these annuals 
have begun to dry out and before or shortly after their dietary switch to allscaie can ensure 
that adult allscaie plants remain vigorous. 

Recruitment of new allscaie plants appears to be a rather rare, episodic event. Many areas 
that were devoid of this shrub experienced seedling flushes in 1991 , presumably because of 

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the unusual weather pattern of the winter-spring of 1990-1991. Virtually no rain fell in the 
southern San Joaquin Valley throughout most of the late fall and winter period, when a series 
of March storms dropped considerable amounts of rain (the event has been dubbed the 
"March miracle"). This late rain triggered an explosion of seedlings of allscale. Likely 
because of reduced competition from annual grasses (very few grasses were to be found that 
spring) and a relatively mild summer, many of these seedlings have survived into adult plants. 
This underscores one of the tenants of grazing management in arid environments - the need 
to take advantage of these episodic events which may occur on the order of only once every 
several decades. This has been termed "opportunistic management" by Westoby et al. 
(1989). Normal grazing during one of these favorable growth years for a desirable species 
may result in a failure to take advantage of a rare opportunity for range improvement. 

Another concern with respect to woody species on annual rangelands has to do with the 
impacts of livestock grazing on the recruitment of oak species, particularly blue oak and 
valley oak. Many investigations and studies have looked at the possible negative effect of 
livestock grazing on the recruitment of these species. Some studies have found that, contrary 
to popular perception, recruitment is not as rare as once believed (Standiford et al. 1996). 
Nevertheless, poor recruitment from acorns does occur in many stands as a result of several 
factors, including: competition from introduced annual grasses; herbivory of seedlings by 
insects, domestic livestock, and wildlife; and intolerance of shady conditions under dense 
overstory canopies (Garrison and Standiford 1996). Stand disturbances that create small 
openings may be necessary for recruitment (Garrison and Standiford 1996). 

Holzman (1 993) found that blue oak canopy density and basal area at the stand level has 
increased over the period of 1932-1992 under typical livestock grazing and fire exclusion 
practices. Davis (1 995) looked at changes between 1 940 to 1 988 at 708 sites in blue oak 
and blue oak/foothill pine woodland. He found that large changes in tree cover occur within 
individual stands, but that on the whole the overall cover of blue oaks remained fairly 
constant over this 48 year period. As he points out, however, this may not be a long enough 
time period to detect a possible decline in oak cover under present recruitment rates. He 
also points out that it is possible that the demography of blue oak is much more dynamic 
than assumed and that existing age and size structure data may not accurately predict future 
demographic changes. 

Sagebrush Steppe 

The major vegetation type called sagebrush steppe occurs in the Great Basin Floristic 
Province, east of the Sierra Nevada-Cascade axis. Sagebrush steppe occupies large areas of 
the Modoc Plateau in northeastern California, extending eastward into northwestern Nevada 
and southward on the east side of the Sierra Nevada to the Owens Valley (West 1988). As its 
name implies, the vegetation type is dominated by various species and subspecies of 
sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), but we also include in this discussion the salt desert vegetation of 
the pluvial basins (Young et al. 1977), even though these often contain no species of 
sagebrush. Also included here are communities dominated by northern juniper (Juniperus 
occidentalis var. occidentalis) in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada, and by 
Utah juniper {Juniperus osteosperma) and single-leaf pinyon {Pinus monophylla) in Mono and 
Inyo Counties. 



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The sagebrush steppe vegetation of today is greatly different from that of presettlement times. 
The pristine vegetation consisted of several species and subspecies of sagebrush, each 
dominating in different habitats. The most conspicuous sagebrush is big sagebrush 
(Artemisia tridentata), with several subspecies, but other sagebrush species are also imporant, 
including low sagebrush (A arbuscula), black sagebrush (A nova), silver sagebrush (A cana 
ssp. bolanderi), and budsage (A spinescens). Big sagebrush and low sagebrush dominate 
the largest portions of the sagebrush steppe vegetation within the EIS area, with big 
sagebrush dominating on deeper soils and low sagebrush dominating on shallow, rocky soils 
with high clay content (Young et al. 1977). 

Several species of perennial grasses co-dominated with both big sagebrush and low 
sagebrush in the pristine sagebrush steppe. The most important of these was probably 
bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. spicata; West 1988). 3 In more moist 
areas, such as on steep, north-facing slopes, Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) was the 
dominant grass (Young et al. 1977). On drier sites various species of needlegrasses became 
important, including Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurherianum), western 
needleguass (A occidentalis), and Letterman's needlegrass (A lettermanii). On moist alluvial 
bottomlands basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus) was often the dominant grass (Young et al. 
1977). This spectacular grass grows to heights as great as 2 meters, and its seeds were an 
important food source for Great Basin Indians (Young et al. 1977; Cronquist et al. 1977). 
Indian ricegrass {Achnatherum hymenoides) was another important understory grass, 
dominant in many areas, particularly where soils were sandy. 

The introduction of domestic livestock beginning in the 1 9th century greatly altered the 
pristine vegetation. Severe overgrazing reduced or completely eliminated perennial grasses 
in many areas. Basin wildrye communities were particularly hard hit (Young et al. 1977), to 
the extent that vast expanses of bottomlands still have little perennial grass today (except 
where species of introduced wheatgrasses have been artificially seeded). At least some of 
these degraded basin wildrye communities, even those with no evidence of the plant, appear 
to be able to come back on their own with proper grazing practices, such as later spring 
grazing or initial rest for a few years (Jim Young, pers. comm.). Bluebunch wheatgrass is 
notoriously ill-adapted to grazing, particularly during the growing season (Mack and 
Thompson 1982; Anderson 1991). It, too, has been greatly reduced or eliminated from much 
of its former range. 

The result of the removal of much of the perennial grass understory was an increase in cover 
and density of shrubs, particularly species of sagebrush. West (1988) suggests that the pre- 



There is some debate over whether bluebunch wheatgrass was in fact the dominant species on most 
upland sites. Some range scientists now believe the species was dominant on only a few sites, particularly 
north slopes at mid-elevations (Roger Farschon, pers. comm.). The latest ecological site descriptions prepared 
by the Natural Resources Conservation Service are decreasing the percentages of bluebunch wheatgrass 
thought to be present in the climax plant community and increasing the percentages of Thurber's needlegrass. 
On the other hand, reference sites with anything approaching the climax or potential plant community are very 
rare and much of what we believe to represent climax vegetation is based on conjecture. Certainly the fact 
that bluebunch wheatgrass is known to be severely impacted from livestock grazing in the growing season 
(Anderson 1991) and the fact that it is still found as a dominant on some flats, rocky areas, and south-facing 
slopes lends credence to it being a more wide-spread dominant before the introduction of livestock grazing 
(Gary Schoolcraft, pers. comm.). 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



settlement sagebrush steppe was only weakly stable, because of the competitive 
disadvantage of the perennial grasses as compared to shrubs. Certainly fire was an 
important agent in keeping shrubs in check: perennial grasses are resistant to most fires, 
whereas many shrub species, particularly sagebrush, are readily killed (West 1988; Young et 
al. 1977). Another important agent of change was the native moth, Sagebrush Defoliator 
(Aroga websteri), which also contributed to reducing the dominance of sagebrush. The larvae 
of this species periodically become so numerous they defoliate large expanses of sagebrush 
(Young et al. 1977). Besides killing the sagebrush outright, these outbreaks also increase the 
flammability of sagebrush communities, leading to a greater risk of fire. 

The severe reduction in perennial grass understory that was the result of the tremendous 
grazing pressure of the late 1 9th and early 20th centuries both reduced the competition of 
perennial grasses on shrubs and decreased the likelihood of fire. Both of these changes led 
to a greatly increased dominance of shrubs. 

The introduction of invasive weeds, most notably cheatgrass (Brornus tectorum), has further 
reduced the perennial grass component of the sagebrush steppe. Cheatgrass became the 
dominant understory plant in much of the sagebrush steppe by the 1 940s and 1 950s (Mack 
1981 ; West 1988). Cheatgrass outcompetes the native perennial grasses by its ability to 
germinate in the fall and add root tissue throughout the winter (Harris 1 977). It poses the 
greatest threat to salt desert shrub sites and low precipitation sites dominated by Wyoming 
sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis). More recently, medusahead 
(Taeniatherum caput-medusae) has invaded large areas of sagebrush steppe, principally on 
the heavy clays of low sagebrush sites. The addition of the fine fuels provided by cheatgrass 
and medusahead calls the future of even the shrubs on some sites into question. Fires are 
more likely to occur on these sites than they were even when perennial species were 
ungrazed. The first fire results in a decrease in sagebrush and an increase in shrubs that 
have the ability to resprout after fires, such as rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.). As fires 
become more and more frequent, even these shrubs disappear and the site becomes 
completely dominated by annuals. Annual grasses do not provide nearly the soil protection 
of perennial species, particularly in drought years. As West (1988) points out, this results in 
severe soil erosion during summer convectional storms and a downward spiral of 
degradation. 

Species of shrubs other than sagebrush are also important in the sagebrush steppe 
vegetation type. Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata var. tridentata) co-dominates with both big and 
low sagebrush in some areas (Young et al. 1977). It is the most important wildlife browse 
species of this vegetation type (Nord 1965). Other important shrub species in the sagebrush 
shrub vegetation type include those of the salt desert scrub, discussed below, and those that 
belong to what Young et al. (1977) refer to as mountain brush communities. Mountain brush 
communities are those Great Basin plant communities that occur at high elevations and are 
composed of several species of shrubs. Bitterbrush is one of these. Others are curl-leaf 
mountain mahogany [Cercocarpus ledifolius), Utah service-berry (Amalanchier utahensis), and 
snowberry (Symphoricarpos rotundifolius). 

Grazing effects on shrubs in the sagebrush steppe vegetation type. Several shrubs in the 
rose family (Rosaceae) are palatable to both wildlife and livestock. The most important of 
these is bitterbrush. Bitterbrush provides important browse for big game species, as well as 
small mammals and both game and nongame birds (Dittbemer and Olson 1983). It is also 

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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



utilized by livestock. Much recent attention has focused on the health of bitterbrush stands, 
particularly in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada, and the relationship of these 
stands to the health of mule deer herds. Heaviest use of bitterbrush by mule deer occurs a 
short time before the leaves are shed in late fall (Sampson and Jesperson 1963). This is also 
the time of year during which the nonstructural carbohydrate reserve is highest; browsing 
during this period is therefore least damaging to the plant (McConnell and Garrison 1966). 
Domestic livestock will browse the plant in summer and early fall, when most of the 
herbaceous species have begun to dry out and are less palatable. Cattle normally make no 
use of bitterbrush in the spring. Over-utilization, whether by livestock, mule deer, or a 
combination of both, results in thinning of stands (Lassen et al. 1952). 

There are a number of studies evaluating the impact of browsing on bitterbrush. Urness and 
Jensen (1 982) reported on a study assessing the impact to bitterbrush by goats (which have 
browsing patterns similar to sheep). They found that fall browsing of bitterbrush by goats at 
100 percent of the annual growth resulted in an increase in the average leader length the 
following year (55.6 cm as opposed to 7.4 cm in unbrowsed controls), but an order of 
magnitude reduction in the number of buds and twigs. The actual production increased by 
719 percent. Jones (1983), in a manual clipping and mowing study, found that bitterbrush 
responded to these treatments with increased growth. He states "the more heavily the 
bitterbrush was pruned, the better it responded to increased growth." However, he also 
estimated 5 to 8 percent bitterbrush mortality, but he does not specify if this mortality was 
increased by heavier clipping levels. Fall mowing resulted in a four-fold increase in leader 
lengths the following year, as opposed to only a two-fold increase from spring mowing. This 
is consistent with the changes in the amount of available, nonstructural carbohydrates in 
bitterbrush found by McConnell and Garrison (1966). 

Although heavy browsing, particularly when it occurs before fall, stimulates increased 
production of individual plants, it can also result in shorter shrub life and fewer shrubs 
surviving to the age of maximum production (McConnell and Smith 1977). Safe utilization (by 
all animals combined) is considered to be less than 60 percent of current twig length each 
season (Sampson and Jesperson 1963), although, as we have seen, heavy use in late fall is 
of less concern than heavy use earlier in the growing season. 

There are several examples of bitterbrush stands within the EIS area that are in a decadent 
condition. These stands receive very heavy use from a combination of deer and livestock, 
and their current condition may be due to this overuse. It is also possible, however, that old 
age may be the predominant factor. Hart (1 988) attributed a bitterbrush die-off near 
Ravendale, California, to the old age of the stands. 

Bitterbrush reproduces primarily from seed. Rodents play an important role in bitterbrush 
reproduction by caching the seed in groups of 10 to 100 in storage areas. Although they 
return to caches to eat the seeds or graze on emergent seedlings, they may miss caches or 
may not graze every seedling in a group. It has been estimated that up to 50 percent of 
mature shrubs originated from rodent caches (Martin and Driver 1983). Recruitment of new 
bitterbrush plants requires the convergence of several conditions (USDA Forest Service 
1997): (1) a heavy seed crop; (2) a balanced rodent population (i.e., enough to cache seed, 
but not so many that all seeds and seedlings are consumed); (3) good spring soil moisture; 
and (4) circumstances favorable for early seedling growth. In some areas all of these 
conditions occur only about once every 20 years (USDA Forest Service 1997). When these 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



episodic recruitment events occur it is important to take advantage of them through 
"opportunistic management" (Westoby et al. 1989) by reducing or eliminating livestock and 
controlling use by mule deer and other game animals as needed to allow these seedlings to 
become established plants. 

Bitterbrush is a widespread increaser species on loamy to sandy soils on much of the Great 
Basin. On public lands subjected to livestock grazing, the most important bitterbrush site is 
on upland loams in the 1 2-1 6 inch precipitation zone. Prior to the introduction of domestic 
livestock, bitterbrush was probably a minor component of this site, and most of the area 
covered by this site was likely a sagebrush steppe, dominated by sagebrush, bluebunch 
wheatgrass, and Idaho fescue. Livestock grazing reduced the bunch grass competition, 
opening the site for colonization by other species, and reduced the fire frequency. 
Bitterbrush took full advantage of this opportunity and became a dominant or subdominant 
shrub on thousands of acres (see Gruell 1986). Based on the recent remeasurement of 
bitterbrush transects originally measured in the 1950s, Eric Loft (pers. comm.) concludes that 
existing stands in northeastern California are maintaining themselves. 

Salt desert scrub. Landforms below the maximum shorelines of the pluvial lake basins within 
the area of sagebrush steppe support very different plant communities than those discussed 
so far (Young et al. 1977). Big sagebrush and low sagebrush are greatly reduced in 
importance, if they are present at all. Taking their place are other species of shrubs, 
including shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), winter fat 
{Krascheninnikovia lanata), budsage, and spiny hop-sage (Grayia spinosa). Many of the same 
grass species discussed previously occur here as well, particularly Indian rice grass and 
basin wildrye. An additional grass species is saltgrass (Distichlis spicata). These 
communities experienced the same grazing pressures as the big sagebrush and low 
sagebrush plant communities, with the consequence that basin wildrye and other perennial 
grasses have been greatly reduced or have disappeared altogether from many areas. In 
addition, budsage and winter fat are very palatable to livestock, particularly sheep. These, 
too, have been greatly reduced from pre-settlement numbers. 

Salt desert scrub communities have also experienced invasion from invasive weeds. In 
addition to cheatgrass, which is also a problem in these communities (see above), 
tumblemustard (Sisymbrium altissimum) and clasping-leaved peppergrass (Lepidium 
perfoliatum) have invaded salt desert scrub sites. Although apparently posing a more 
extensive problem elsewhere in the Great Basin, weedy species such as Russian thistle 
(Salsola tragus), halogeton {Halogeton glomeratus), and annual, nonnative saltbush (Atriplex 
spp.) and pigweed (Chenopodium spp.) tend to invade only physically disturbed sites in the 
salt desert shrub communities of California. 

As mentioned, livestock browse on several shrubs found in salt desert scrub communities, 
including winter fat, budsage, and some of the salt bushes (Atriplex spp.). Clary and 
Holmgren (1 987) evaluated studies conducted on the Desert Experimental Range in Utah to 
determine long-term vegetation trends in these communities. They found that, because of 
differences in study methods, weather, grazing treatments, and viewpoint, it was impossible to 
draw many conclusions. They did find, however, that spring grazing increased shadscale and 
eliminated budsage at every grazing level. Fall grazing has the opposite effect. Winterfat 
appears to have declined under both the fall-winter grazing and no grazing treatments. 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Not a large amount of these types of communities is grazed within the EIS area. Where 
livestock grazing in these communities does occur, it takes place primarily in the spring, when 
the grazing animals prefer grasses. 

Juniper and pinyon woodlands. Woodlands of pinyon and/or juniper occur adjacent to 
sagebrush steppe at higher elevations. Extensive woodlands dominated by western juniper 
occur on the Modoc Plateau of northeastern California and the Great Basin of northwestern 
Nevada. The extensive pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Great Basin of Nevada extend into 
the mountainous areas east of the Sierra Nevada, from Alpine county south (Vasek and 
Thorne 1977). Throughout this area, woodlands consist of single-leaf pinyons alone, of Utah 
junipers alone, or as a mixture of the two. Pinyon also occurs on the lower east slopes of the 
Sierra, where it occurs without Utah juniper in an almost continuous band from Topaz Lake at 
the Nevada state line south to Kern County (Vasek and Thorne 1977). Where both single-leaf 
pinyon and Utah juniper occur together, they usually co-dominate at intermediate elevations, 
with Utah juniper extending by itself to lower elevations and single-leaf pinyon occurring by 
itself at higher elevations. An exception is the region south and west of Bodie, where Utah 
junipers occur at the upper eievational margin of a single-leaf pinyon woodland (Vasek and 
Thorne 1977). 

Single-leaf pinyon and both species of junipers have increased greatly since pre-settlement 
times. This is particularly true of western juniper on the Modoc Plateau, where trees have 
encroached significantly into communities formerly dominated by sagebrush species. West 
(1 984 and 1 988) believes that much of the pinyon-juniper and juniper woodland of the Great 
Basin was formerly more like a savannah, with older trees restricted to rocky and steep areas, 
where fires did not reach. Elsewhere the fine fuels provided by understory perennial grasses 
were sufficient to ensure fires at a frequency that removed juvenile and younger age-class 
trees from the community. Heavy livestock grazing removed or greatly reduced these fine 
fuels, leading to a decrease in fire frequency and a consequent increase in the number and 
cover first of shrubs, especially sagebrush, and then of junipers. Fire suppression policies 
have also greatly decreased the role of fire in these communities. The result has been that 
junipers have increased in density both up and down slope into sagebrush steppe. 

The understory of the pristine juniper woodlands was very similar to the adjoining sagebrush 
steppe (West 1988). As juniper density increased over the last -100 years, however, the 
understory was much reduced, both in numbers of species and degree of cover. There are 
large areas on the Modoc Plateau where western juniper is so dense there is no shrub or 
herbaeous perennial understory whatsoever. The only plants present in the understories are 
annuals, primarily cheatgrass, and even these exhibit low cover and vigor. West (1988) notes 
that because of extensive root systems, shading, and germination-inhibiting chemicals in their 
leaves, junipers are at a distinct competitive advantage over other species. Because the 
interspaces between trees are devoid of much ground cover, erosion rates in juniper and 
pinyon-juniper woodlands have accelerated beyond those of the sagebrush steppe. Carrara 
and Carroll (1979) have demonstrated that soil erosion rates in pinyon-juniper woodland in 
the Piceance Basin of Colorado have increased 400% during the past century. 

Efforts have been made to control the spread of junipers. Prescribed burning is a valuable 
tool, but it is effective only with younger age-class junipers, because prescribed burns are not 
usually hot enough to kill older trees. Mechanical removal of junipers has also been used, 
including fuel wood harvest and chaining. Although locally effective, these practices have not 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



done much to stem the overall spread of junipers into sagebrush steppe. An additional 
problem is that, once the junipers have reached a density that has eliminated most of the 
understory, removal of the trees through any method usually results in a community 
dominated solely by cheatgrass or other annual plants unless the removal is followed by a 
restoration effort. This is because seed banks and other sources of perennial grass seed 
have been lost (Koniak and Everett 1982). This result is probably even more undesirable than 
the juniper woodland. 

Although fire and overgrazing has doubtless contributed to the expansion of pinyon-juniper 
and juniper woodlands, there is evidence that climate, too, has played a major role. Some 
scientists now think that the spread of junipers into sabebrush steppe in northeastern 
California and eastern Oregon may be correlated with the more moist period of the last 1 00 
years (Richard Miller, pers. comm.) paralleling the expansion of mequite (Prosopis spp.) into 
the grasslands of the southwestern deserts of New Mexico and Texas. 

Blackbush Scrub. In Inyo County, where the Great Basin and Mojave Desert merge, is a 
locally important community dominated by blackbush (Coleogyne ramosissima), a shrubby 
member of the rose family. Blackbush is often the only shrub in this community, and 
herbaceous understory species are few; total vegetation cover, however, is often high (West 
1988). Perennial grasses, including galleta {Pleuraphis jamesii), Indian rice grass, and various 
species of needlegrass (Achnatherum spp.), do occur in this community, where they have not 
been removed through heavy livestock grazing. Once these understory species are removed 
from a blackbrush community, they will not re-occur unless the blackbrush is removed; thus, 
we often see closed communities of blackbrush that last for decades, unless disturbed by fire. 

This community is very prone to fire (West 1988), and fire was doubtless important in its 
evolution (Bates and Menke 1984). Blackbush does not resprout following fire and reseeds 
itself with difficulty (West 1988). Where few to no perennials occur in the understory, burning 
results in at least temporary replacement of blackbush with annual grasses such as 
cheatgrass and red brome. When this happens, fire frequencies increase, leading to possible 
long-term removal of the perennial component of this community, decreased productivity, and 
increased soil erosion. Surface disturbances have similar affects upon the community as fire, 
in that once the blackbrush is removed, other species such as annuals, perennial grasses 
and rabbitbrush may invade the site with little likelihood that blackbush will reinhabit the site 
for many years. 

Pure blackbush communities are normally avoided by livestock due to the absence of any 
appreciable amount of palatable forage. However, once a site is disturbed, herbaceous 
species usually move in quickly, attracting grazing animals once again. If the grazing is not 
properly managed, the site may eventually be overgrown with blackbush again. 



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Table 3.3.2(a): Vegetation types compared to wildlife habitat and vegetation series 


descriptions. 






Vegetation Type as 


Corresponding Wildlife Habitat 


Representative and widespread 


described in this 


Type as described in Mayer 


Vegetation Series as described by 


document 


and Laudenslayer (1 988) 


Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1995).* 


Annual Grasslands 


Annual Grasslands 


California Annual Grassland Series 




Alkali Desert Scrub 


Purple Needlegrass Series 




Valley Foothill Hardwood 


Vernal Pools 




Blue Oak Woodland 


Shadscale Series 




Valley Oak Woodland 


Iodine Bush Series 




Coastal Oak Woodland 


Greasewood Series 




Valley Foothill Hardwood- 


Foothill Pine Series 




conifer 


Blue Oak Series 




Blue Oak - Digger Pine 


Valley Oak Series 




Montane Hardwood 


Interior Live Oak Series 




Chamise-Red Shank Chaparral 


Black Oak Series 




Mixed Chaparral 


Tanoak Series 

Oregon White Oak Series 

Canyon Live Oak Series 

Chamise Series 

Eastwood Manzanita Series 

Wedgeleaf Ceanothus Series 

Chamise-Wedgeleaf Ceanothus 

Series 

Scruboak-Chamise Series 


Sagebrush Steppe 


Sagebrush 


Big Sagebrush Series 




Bitterbrush 


Low Sagebrush Series 




Low Sagebrush 


Bitterbrush Series 




Pinyon-Juniper 


Curlleaf Mountain-Mahogany Series 




Juniper 


Rabbitbrush Series 
Black Bush Series 
Cheatgrass Series 
Western Juniper Series 
Utah Juniper Series 
Single Leaf Pinyon Series 
Single Leaf Pinyon-Utah Juniper 
Series 



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Chapter 3 



Table 3.3.2(a): Vegetation types compared to wildlife habitat and vegetation series 
descriptions. 


Vegetation Type as 
described in this 
document 


Corresponding Wildlife Habitat 
Type as described in Mayer 
and Laudenslayer (1 988) 


Representative and widespread 
Vegetation Series as described by 
Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf (1995).* 


Wetland-Riparian 


Valley Foothill Riparian 
Montane Riparian 
Wet Meadow 
Fresh Emergent Wetland 


Fremont Cottonwood Series 
California Sycamore Series 
Arroyo Willow Series 
Narrowleaf Willow Series 
Sandbar Willow Series 
Aspen Series 
Black Cottonwood Series 
Sedge Series 
Nebraska Sedge Series 
Spikerush Series 
Shorthair Sedge Series 
Cattail Series 
Bulrush Series 



* No attempt is made to include all applicable vegetation series from the latter source; rather, only those thought to be 

the most important or most representative of the vegetation tyP es represented in this document are included. 

3.3.3 Upland Conditions and Trends 

Conditions and trends on BLM rangelands have been reported in a variety of ways over the 
years. For the past two decades or so the system used by BLM has been substantially the 
same as that employed by the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly the 
Soil Conservation Service, SCS). The method used is that described in the National Range 
Handbook (SCS 1976). The BLM has modified the method slightly (BLM 1984) but the basic 
principles are the same. Differences are primarily in terminology: for example, NRCS uses 
the term range site instead of the ecological site used by BLM; NRCS uses the term range 
condition, whereas BLM uses ecological status. As long as one is dealing with rangelands 
these terms are synonymous. 

Under this system rangelands are classified into ecological sites. An ecological site is a kind 
of land with a specific potential natural community and specific physical site characteristics, 
differing from other kinds of lands in its ability to produce vegetation and to respond to land 
management. 4 The potential natural community (PNC) for each ecological site is described 
(usually by NRCS) based on vegetation sampling of an undisturbed expression (or, as is 
often the case, a relatively undisturbed expression) of the site's vegetation in another place. 
An inventory, called an ecological site inventory, is then conducted. 



4 NRCS uses the term range site in lieu of ecological site. When it applies to rangelands, a range site is 
the same as an ecological site. The difference between the two concepts, which will not concern us here, is 
that range sites apply only to rangelands, whereas ecological sites can apply to woodland and forest sites as 
well as to rangelands. 

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Ecological site inventory (ESI) consists of collecting a broad array of information on a given 
area. The information includes data on soils, vegetation, site history, physiography, and 
erosion. Of these, soils and vegetation are given paramount importance. Information 
collected in a given area is extrapolated to other areas based primarily on soils. Thus, 
several areas can be said to belong to the same ecological site because they have the same 
soil series (or phase of soil series) even though their current vegetation is different (sites may 
be further defined based on inches of precipitation). The assumption is that the vegetation of 
all the areas belonging to one ecological site would be the same if the plant communities on 
each of these areas were allowed to progress to climax. The fact that the existing vegetation 
of these areas is different is attributed to the presence of several stages of succession, as 
well as to different possible expressions of the same stage (see, for example, Huschle and 
Hironaka 1980). 

Ecological site inventory is founded on the work of Dyksterhuis (1949) and is similar in many 
respects to the habitat type concept of Daubenmire (e.g., 1952; 1970). The method has been 
attacked because of an underlying assumption that the climax plant community is the best 
possible community for all uses. This assumption is exemplified in NRCS's use of the terms 
"poor," "fair," "good," and "excellent" to describe plant communities that are least similar to 
most similar, respectively, to climax. BLM has avoided this problem by substituting the terms 
"early serai," "mid serai," "late serai," and "potential natural community (PNC)," respectively, in 
accordance with the recommendations of the Range Inventory Standardization Committee of 
the Society for Range Management (RISC 1983). 

Range condition (this is called ecological status by BLM, but for simplicity we will refer to it as 
range condition) is determined based on the percent similarity of the present plant community 
to the potential plant community. Table 3.3.3 shows the four condition classes used by BLM 
and NRCS and the percent similarity corresponding to each. 



Table 3.3.3: Range condition and ecological status designations corresponding to 
different levels of similarity of the present plant community to the potential natural 

community (PNC). 


Similarity of Present Plant 
Community to PNC 


Range Condition 
(as used by NRCS) 


— — — — — i 

Ecological Status 

(as used by BLM) 


76-1 00% 


Excellent 


PNC 


51 -75% 


Good 


Late Serai 


26-50% 


Fair 


Mid Serai 


0-25% 


Poor 


Early Serai 



Trend can also be determined using this method by comparing the results of a subsequent 
inventory to the initial inventory. If the later inventory shows the plant community to be more 
similar to the PNC the trend is up. If it is iess similar the trend is down. If there is no change, 
the trend is stable. 

Because of constraints of time and budget (as well as the applicability of ecological site 
inventory to annual rangelands-more on this below), BLM in California has conducted 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 3 



ecological site inventory on slightly less than 1 .3 million acres of the 4.4 million acres under 
grazing permit and lease in the project area. Of the acres inventoried using ESI, almost all 
were inventoried in order to prepare environmental impact statements to comply with the 
nationwide court order in National Resource Defence Council, Inc. v. Morton (388 F Supp 
829, 1974: 527 F 2d 1386, 1976). The last of these "grazing EISs" was completed in 1985. 
Thus, ecological site inventories for California rangelands are 1 2 or more years old (except for 
some smaller areas that were re-inventoried in later years). Table 3.3.3(a) shows the status of 
ESI in the project area. 



Table 3.3.3(a): Status of ecological site inventory in the project area. Acres and 
years of inventory are shown by Resource Area and by planning unit within each 

Resource Area. 


Resource Area 


Planning Unit 


Year(s) of Inventory 


Acres Inventoried 


Bishop 


Bodie-Coleville 


1979-1980 


227,068 


Eagle Lake 


Cal-Neva 


1979 5 


651 ,405 5 


Willow Creek 


1980 6 


294,992 6 


Redding 


Redding 


1981 


13,558 


Surprise 


Cowhead-Massacre 


i981 


101,486 



Problems with the use of Ecological Site Inventory (ESI) to determine range condition. 

The ecological site inventory approach is based on the successional theory of Clements 
(1916), as applied to rangelands by Dyksterhuis (1949), and further refined by the Soil 
Conservation Service (SCS 1976). Important assumptions of the approach include 
(Willoughby 1992): (1) that each ecological site has only one climax, steady state plant 
community; (2) that secondary succession is simply the reverse of retrogression and 
proceeds through a series of predictable serai communities; (3) that pioneer species facilitate 
the invasion and establishment of later serai species; (4) that succession proceeds in a 
steady, continuous fashion; and (5) that climate remains relatively stable, at least over periods 
of many decades to hundreds of years. All of these assumptions are severely challenged by 
current successional theory (see, for example, Connell and Slatyer 1977; Noble 1986; Noble 
and Slatyer 1980; MacMahon 1980; Niering 1987; Cattelino et al. 1979; Smith 1988 and 1989; 
Glenn-Lewin 1980; Holling 1973; Walker et al. 1981; Westoby et al. 1989; Friedel 1991; 
Laycock 1991; and Svjecar and Brown 1991). 

Another problem with Ecological Site Inventory is that, although it gathers valuable 
information, it does not collect certain critical information necessary to determine whether 



5 Some of this area was re-inventoried in 1987, when 53,745 acres were inventoried, and in 1994, when another 40,000 acres 
were inventoried. 

In 1988, 32,477 acres of this total were re-inventoried. 



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uplands are healthy or in proper functioning condition. The concept of proper functioning 
condition of uplands is relatively new (the concept is much better developed for riparian 
areas, where it will be discussed in detail), but its assessment requires information on soil 
stability and the integrity of ecological processes such as nutrient cycling and energy flow 
(National Research Council 1994). Although a team of professionals is currently developing 
ways of incorporating these informational needs into BLM inventory procedures, this has not 
yet been accomplished, and none of the range condition and trend assessments given below 
include this type of information. 

Current Known Upland Conditions and Trends. Although, as noted above, current 
methods of assessing range conditions and trends are inadequate to completely evaluate 
upland rangeland health or proper functioning condition, they provide the only information 
currently available. The BLM reports annually on the condition and trend of its rangelands. 
Where available, this information comes from ecological site inventory. As Table 3.3.3(a) 
shows, however, only 1 .3 million acres out of the 4.4 million acres under grazing permit and 
lease have been inventoried using this methodology. In order to assess the condition and 
trend of the other 3.1 million acres, a variety of methods has been used. In some areas 
different inventory methodologies have been employed. In other areas the professional 
judgement of range conservationists and other resource specialists has provided the best 
available information. 

In the sagebrush steppe vegetation type range condition is based on the nearness of the 
current plant community to the presumed climax plant community (see Table 3.3.3). In the 
annual grassland vegetation type a different procedure has been employed. Because this 
vegetation type is dominated by annual plant species, the traditional model of succession, 
which ends in a stable plant community dominated by perennial species, is not applicable. 
Therefore, annual rangelands have been classified as being in "good" condition, unless 
problems with noxious weeds or erosion have been evident, in which case they have been 
classified in a lower condition class. In a few areas within the annual grassland type, 
perennial species are present in sufficient numbers to classify using traditional notions of 
succession, and these areas have been classified in that fashion. 

Some formerly poor-condition rangelands have been seeded to introduced perennial grasses 
that provide erosion control and livestock forage. These seedings have mostly been done in 
the sagebrush steppe vegetation type. Following the removal of the woody overstory 
(primarily sagebrush) by wildfire or, more rarely, by chemical treatment, perennial 
wheatgrasses, including desert crested wheatgrass {Agropyron desertorum), intermediate 
wheatgrass (Elytrigia intermedia), and tall wheatgrass (Elytrigia elongata), all of which are 
native to Eurasia, were planted. These seedings are rated using professional judgement as 
to their forage value (called forage condition). 

Trend in uplands is even more important than condition when using the method of condition 
assessment described in detail above. This is because of the relatively slow rates of change 
in rangeland vegetation, particularly in the sagebrush steppe vegetation type where these 
concepts of condition and trend most directly apply. Even under conservative stocking levels 
and exclusion most rangelands would not improve to the next condition class for many 
decades. Thus, trend is a more sensitive measure of management success. 



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Three categories of trend are recognized: Up (moving toward the potential natural 
community), Static (not moving toward or away from the potential natural community), and 
Down (moving away from the potential natural community). A fourth category, Undetermined, 
is used for those rangelands where the trend has not been assessed recently. 

Trend is assessed on BLM rangelands in California in one of three ways. Where more than 
one ecological site inventory has been completed in the same region, the results of the 
second inventory are compared to the results of the first to determine trend. For example, in 
the first inventory, the area of a particular ecological site in a given pasture may be measured 
to be 30% similar to the potential natural community (PNC) for that site. The ecological status 
of this area would be rated as mid serai (or, in NRCS terminology, as fair condition). Ten 
years later, a second inventory is conducted. Now the same area is measured to be 45% of 
the PNC. This is still the same condition class, mid serai, but the trend is clearly up. 

Although this method probably is the best means of assessing trend under a system that 
compares existing vegetation to the potential vegetation for an ecological site (but don't 
forget the overall limitations of this approach, discussed above), it is the method that has 
been least used. The reason for this is that few rangeland areas in California have been 
inventoried twice using ESI. In fact, only slightly more than 125,000 acres have been "re- 
inventoried" using ESI; all of these acres are in the Eagle Lake Resource Area. For the 
remaining almost 4.3 million acres, either the concept of "apparent trend" or monitoring data 
have been used to assess whether the plant community is moving toward or away from the 
PNC. Apparent trend is the interpretation of trend based on a single observation, using such 
factors as plant vigor, the abundance of seedlings and young plants, and the accumulation or 
lack of plant residues (SRM 1989). This determination is made during a rangeland inventory 
(using either ESI or another inventory method) or by professional judgement. 

Monitoring provides another means of estimating trend. Trend monitoring involves the 
estimation of plant attributes, especially cover and frequency, at key areas (see Section 3.2.5, 
Monitoring, for a discussion of cover and frequency measurements, as well as the key area 
concept). A determination of trend involves assessing whether species that are considered to 
be part of the PNC are increasing or decreasing. Estimates at key areas are extrapolated to 
include larger areas of pastures or allotments. 

Just as for condition, the concept of trend does not really fit well in stable communities 
dominated by annuals. Therefore, offices have generally reported the trend of annual 
rangelands to be static unless there are, or have been, problems associated with noxious 
weeds and/or accelerated erosion. In a few areas within the annual grassland type, 
perennial species are present in sufficient numbers to classify using traditional concepts of 
succession. Trend has been determined in these areas based on the methods described for 
sagebrush steppe rangelands. 

Tables 1 through 6 in Appendix 7 show rangeland conditions and trends as of September 30, 
1996. 

But remember, when we talk about trend and condition as it has been used by BLM, NCRS 
and others, we are not talking about rangeland health or proper functioning condition (which 
is what we need to discuss). What we are talking about is whether a site is moving towards a 
climax vegetative community (which may not be the desired state). In many cases, we are 

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managing for, and desire, a lower serai stage, or a mix of stages spread over the landscape. 
And, although we may say that the condition is poor, with no upward trend, this does not 
necessarily mean that these areas are in poor health. 



3.4 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS 

3.4.1 Overview 

Wetland/aquatic areas comprise less than 1 percent of the 15.9 million acres of public lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management in California. BLM manages 62,000 acres 
and 3,500 miles of wetlands statewide, and 13,593 acres and 1 ,163 miles of wetlands in the 
area covered by this EIS (see Table 3.4.1). 

The benefits of these vital areas, however, far exceed their relatively small acreage. 
Wetland/aquatic habitat is one of the most fundamental resources of the public lands. The 
water sourtes contained in these habitats serve as the foundation upon which many species 
depend. An estimated one-half of the animals and one-third of the plants currently listed in 
the U.S. as endangered or threatened depend on wetland/aquatic areas for their survival. 



Table 3.4.1: BLM California Estimated Wetland Acres and Aquatic/Riparian 
Miles (most recent data available) 




Acres Land 
Administered 


Standing-water 

Wetland 
(Lentic) Acres 


Flowing-water 

Riparian / 

Aquatic (Lotic) 

Miles 


Area Administered 
by BLM California 


15,900,000 


62,000 


3,500 


Area Covered by 
this EIS, within 
Grazing Allotments 


4,370,000 


13,593 


1,163 



In recent years, there has been increasing awareness and understanding of the numerous 
economic benefits wetland/aquatic areas provide to humankind. Healthy wetland systems 
purify water as it moves through the vegetation and act like a sponge by retaining water in 
stream banks and ground water aquifers. Wetland/aquatic areas can absorb and dissipate 
the energy of flood waters before they reach high value areas such as urban lands. 

Wetland/aquatic areas also are focal points for recreation, including fishing, hunting, camping, 
boating, hiking, nature observation, photography, and picnicking. Many of these activities 
associated with wetland/aquatic areas generate high economic values. 

Within a landscape, wetland/aquatic areas are linked to both upstream and downstream 
ecosystems, and their functional values (e.g. flood storage, water supply, wildlife habitat) 
extend well beyond the boundaries of the wetlands/aquatic areas themselves. In California, 



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wetland/aquatic area habitat functions extend to other continents, as is the case for 60 
percent of migratory birds using the Pacific flyway. 

In California, the BLM manages four major types of wetlands: 1) riparian, 2) marshes, 3) 
wetland flats/playas, and 4) vernal pools. Riparian wetland areas are grouped into two major 
categories: 1) lotic, which is running water habitat (including stream channel and floodplain) 
such as rivers, streams, and springs; and, 2) lentic, which is standing water habitat (including 
shorelines and floodplain) such as lakes, ponds, and meadows. 

Marshes are frequently or continually inundated areas characterized by emergent herbaceous 
vegetation adapted to saturated soil conditions. Wetland flats/playas are similar to a marsh; 
however, they are very shallow and are seasonally and intermittently flooded. 

Vernal pools are depressions that have impervious substrata (clay soils, hardpan, or 
bedrock). This substrata decreases the infiltration of water and results in areas that are 
saturated long enough to impose special constraints on plant growth. Many vernal pools 
have surface water only during the most extreme precipitation events and may persist only a 
few days, while others may persist up to several months. 

The amount of scientific data and history of BLM managed wetland/aquatic habitats varies 
greatly by location. Some areas (i.e. Mattole River Estuary) have long-term research 
conducted within the area. However, in other areas information is lacking. The best 
information available on wetland/aquatic habitats for this EIS is Functioning Condition 
Assessment data. There are three categories of functioning condition: 1) proper functioning 
condition, 2) functional-at-risk condition, and 3) non-functional condition. Detailed definitions 
of these categories are available in BLM's Technical Reference 1737-9. 

Simply put, the Functioning Condition Assessment process is an evaluation of the health or 
change of health status of wetland areas. The results of this assessment do not indicate if 
management objectives are being achieved. However, if an area is not in proper functioning 
condition it does not have the potential to achieve management objectives. See Table 
3.4.1 (a) for functioning condition status of wetland/riparian habitats covered by this EIS. 

The major stream channel and riparian attributes that are assessed when determining 
functional condition are hydrologic, vegetative, and soils/erosion. Livestock grazing can 
impact all of these attributes. For example, 

livestock could consume enough of the streambank vegetation that there would not be 
adequate vegetation cover to protect stream banks during high flows. If a stream was 
not rock armored along its banks and there was not adequate vegetation, the 
streambank and associated riparian habitat may erode into the stream channel during 
high flows. This erosion/sediment might be more than the stream channel could 
handle and cause the channel to decrease in depth and widen. If a stream channel 
does not have the correct width/depth ratio for the landscape setting in which it 
occurs, then the stream cannot provde the proper habitat for the fish, frogs, insects, 
etc. that should occur in that stream. 



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Table 3.4.1 (a): Functioning Condition Status of Lentic and Lotic Habitats Covered by 
Range EIS 7 


Condition 


Standing-water (Lentic) 
Wetland Acres 


Flowing-water (Lotic) 
Riparian/Aquatic Miles 


Proper Functioning 
Condition 


3631 (26.7%) 


319(27.5%) 


Functional-at-Risk 


9667(71.1%) 


807 (69.3%) 


Non-functional 


295 (2.2%) 


37 (3.2%) 


TOTALS 


1 3,593 


1,163 



3.4.2 Wetland-Riparian Vegetation 

Wetland-Riparian vegetation occurs in both the California and Great Basin Floristic Provinces. 
This vegetation type is dependent upon the water provided either by the running water of 
rivers, streams, and springs (lotic habitat) or by the standing water of lakes, ponds, seeps, 
bogs, and meadows (lentic habitat). The vegetation of riparian-wetland areas usually 
contrasts sharply with the vegetation of the adjacent uplands. Although the area covered by 
wetland-riparian vegetation is small compared to upland vegetation, the importance of this 
vegetation to a variety of resources is well recognized. For example, more species and 
greater numbers of wildlife are found in riparian environments than in any other habitat type 
(Kattelmann and Embury 1996; Thomas et al. 1979; Kauffman and Krueger 1984; Schulz and 
Leininger 1991). Wetland-riparian vegetation provides important sources of forage for 
domestic livestock (Clary and Webster 1990). Riparian vegetation is very important to the 
proper functioning of the adjacent stream, providing shading and adding chemical energy 
and nitrogen through the plant materials and insects that fall into the stream (Kattelmann and 
Embury 1996; Meehan et. al. 1977; Cummins et al. 1989). Riparian vegetation protects 
streambanks from erosion and traps sediments and nutrients coming from upstream, thereby 
ensuring high water quality (Kattelmann and Embury 1996). Healthy stands of riparian 
vegetation can ameliorate the adverse effects of upslope disturbances (Schlosser and Karr 
1981). 

Wetland-riparian vegetation varies both spatially and temporally. Spatial variation occurs in 
response to different physical and biological factors. Certain habitats are dominated by 
winter-deciduous tree species such as Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii), black 
cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), red willow (Salix laevigata), 
hackberry (Celtis reticulata), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), bigleaf maple (Acer 



Much of this data derived from a Professional Judgment Assessment (PJA), where resource professionals were asked to use 
their own personal experience, skill, perspective, and familiarity with various wetland/riparian areas to answer functioning condition 
standard checklist questions. 



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macrophyllum), and California sycamore (Platanus racemosa). Several shrub species occur in 
these tree dominated habitats, or in other habitats the shrub species themselves are 
dominant: arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis), sandbar willow (S. sessilifolia), narrowleaf willow (S. 
exigua), yellow willow (S. lutea), mulefat {Baccharis salcifolia), California wild rose (Rosa 
californica), interior rose (Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana), and California blackberry (Rubus 
ursinus). In other riparian areas and especially in meadows, herbaceous vegetation 
dominates. Several species of sedge (Carex spp.) may dominate separately or in 
combination. Of particular note are Nebraska sedge (C. nebrascensis), beaked sedge (C. 
utriculata), and shorthair sedge (C. filifolia), though many other sedge species may be present 
depending on geography and local factors. Rushes (Juncus spp.), spikerushes (Eleocharis 
spp.), and common three-square (Scirpus pungens) are also common in these habitats. 
Where the habitat is permanently or almost permanently flooded, cattails (Typha spp.) and 
bulrushes (Scirpus spp.) may occur. 

Vegetation dynamics. Temporal variation in wetland-riparian vegetation occurs in response 
to disturbance. Natural disturbances due to flooding are common in riparian habitats. The 
degree of change to the vegetation in response to floods, depends upon the severity of an 
individual flood and the condition of the riparian vegetation at the time of the flood. Very 
severe floods can remove much of the vegetation. When this happens the vegetation 
progresses through a series of different successional stages until a relatively stable stage is 
reached. Manning and Padgett (1995) provide an excellent description of community types 
and successional pathways of riparian areas in the Great Basin. 

Improper management of livestock grazing can have serious adverse effects on wetland- 
riparian vegetation. Livestock impacts riparian vegetation both through direct consumption of 
plant material and trampling. The latter affects vegetation by compacting soil, resulting in 
reduced infiltration, percolation, root growth, and plant production (Clary 1995; Bryant et al. 
1972). Kattelmann and Embury (1996) list the following interrelated impacts of overgrazing on 
wetland-riparian vegetation and wetland-riparian habitat: 1 ) reduction in vegetative cover; 2) 
changes in species composition; 3) introduction of exotic species; 4) reduction or elimination 
of regeneration; 5) compaction and cutting of meadow sod; 6) depletion or elimination of 
deeply rooted vegetation that strengthens banks; 7) loss of litter and soil organic matter; 8) 
erosion of stream banks, beds, and flood plains; 9) loss of overhanging streambanks; 10) 
destabilization of alluvial channels and transformation to wide shallow channels; 11) initiation 
of gullies and headcuts; 12) channel incision and consequent lowering of water tables; 13) 
desiccation of meadows; 14) increased water temperature during summer due to reduction of 
shade; 15) increased freezing in winter from reduction of insulation and snow trapping 
efficiency; 16) siltation of streams; 17) bacterial and nutrient pollution; and 18) decline of 
summer streamflow. 

Probably all of the wetland-riparian areas on BLM lands have experienced overgrazing in the 
past. Livestock grazing was essentially unregulated on BLM lands until passage of the Taylor 
Grazing Act in 1 934, and the fact that livestock congregate in riparian areas, particularly in the 
warm summer months, served to ensure the occurrence of many or all of the impacts listed 
above. Despite increased management attention to wetland-riparian areas and attempts to 
improve them, many of which have proven successful, serious problems remain. Improved 
management of wetland-riparian vegetation is one of the goals of the healthy rangelands 
initiative. 



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With respect to recovery, Kattelmann and Embury (1996) state the following: 

Riparian vegetation degraded by overgrazing generally recovers within a 
decade once grazing pressure is removed (e.g., Platts and Nelson 1985; 
Chaney et al. 1993; Nelson et al. 1994). As long as gullying has not lowered 
the water table, riparian and meadow plants will regrow in a few years if not 
consumed (Odion et al. 1990). However, there are many potential 
successional pathways (Menke et al. 1996). Channel morphology responds to 
the cessation of the disturbance much more slowly (Kondolf 1993). Decades 
to centuries may be required. Rates of recovery tend to be highly variable 
between locations and depend on the ability of the riparian vegetation to trap 
sediment and build streambanks. 

Relatively rapid recovery of riparian areas can be expected if management is implemented 
soon enough; otherwise, complete recovery is unlikely in one human generation. 

Weeds have become an important instrument of vegetation change in many wetland-riparian 
areas. The exotic Himalayan blackberry {Rubus procerus) and ailanthus have become 
established in many of the riparian areas found within the annual grassland vegetation type. 
Giant reed {Arundo donax) has become established in many riparian areas, particularly those 
in the Coast Ranges. Although not yet the problem it is in the Desert Province, tamarisk 
{Tamarix spp.) is expanding into many riparian areas in the California Floristic Province and 
the Great Basin. Perennial peppergrass (Lepidium latifolium) is also invading many riparian 
areas throughout the Great Basin. It is easily dispersed through flooding. Anne Halford 
(pers. comm.) witnessed clumps of perennial peppergrass floating down both the flood- 
swollen Truckee and Walker Rivers on January 1, 1997. 

Managing livestock grazing to prevent overuse and to maintain or enhance the condition of 
riparian-wetland areas is often very challenging. On most allotments where riparian areas 
exist, the riparian areas, whether lentic or lotic, normally constitute a very small proportion of 
the allotment area and are often located in a fragmented pattern throughout each allotment. 
Although these areas constitute a very small amount of the overall forage available for 
livestock in each allotment, they are very attractive areas to livestock, because of their 
proximity to water, shade, and vegetation that remains succulent much longer than the 
adjacent upland vegetation. Consequently, livestock tend to congregate in these areas and 
can quickly overuse the riparian vegetation. 

Total or seasonal exclusion from grazing usually requires either fencing, which is costly and 
requires almost continuous maintenance, or herding, which for cattle is very difficult. The 
herding of sheep is much more practical and has proven quite successful in protecting and 
enhancing riparian-wetland areas. However, as sheep grazing has declined over the past 
decades, the opportunities to apply these techniques are becoming limited. The feasibility of 
applying these techniques - either fencing or herding - on allotments containing many 
fragmented riparian-wetland areas is also questionable. Removing livestock from these areas 
when predetermined grazing utilization thresholds have been met has been somewhat 
successful on some allotments, but there is still the problem of leaving the livestock on the 
remainder of the allotment for the rest of the grazing season. 



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The use of riparian-wetland areas by other ungulates, in conjunction with livestock, makes the 
problems all the more complex. Wild horses and burros, in particular, present a difficult 
management problem. These animals also find most riparian-wetland areas attractive and 
may overuse the vegetation even in the absence of livestock. 

Yet another factor making riparian-wetland management difficult is the fact that on many 
allotments the majority of the riparian-wetland areas are privately owned and these areas are 
often intermingled with small areas of BLM lands. The ability to enhance and sustain healthy 
riparian-wetland areas on public lands requires extensive cooperation with all land owners 
and other interests. Opportunities for success in these areas may be limited. 



3.4.3 Water Quality 

Administration 

Standards for water quality established by the State of California are identified in each of the 
nine (9) Water Quality Control Plans, commonly called "Basin Plans", for each of the 9 
Regional Water Quality Control Boards in the state. The regions applicable to this EIS include 
the North Coast Region (1), San Francisco Bay Region (2), Central Coast Region (3) Central 
Valley Region (5) and part of the Lahontan Region (6). See Map 5 for the location of the 
Regions. The standards for each region are identified as water quality objectives and 
non-degradation standards in these Basin Plans. The numerical standards are based upon 
U.S. EPA's handbook on water quality standards and identify general requirements based on 
land use activities and their relationship to the beneficial uses of the particular water bodies 
involved. 8 (As a rule, the numerical standards are focused on point pollution activities; and 
the non-degradation standards are more applicable to non-point activities such as grazing.) 

California's Water Resources Control Board also publishes a California Water Quality 
Assessment, commonly called a 305(b) Report, which serves as a catalog of the State's water 
bodies and their quality condition. The latest publication was completed in 1994. This 
publication lists known impaired water bodies and known or suspected probable causes for 
point and non-point source pollution. The assessment is not exhaustive, nor is it site specific, 
but rather, it serves as an indicator of which water bodies are impaired, the impairment 
problem and the probable cause of the impairment. 

The 1 994 Water Quality Assessment (305(b)) Report listed 25 water bodies in California (ail 
within the Lahontan Region) as being, or suspected of being, impaired by grazing where 
there was some BLM land within the watershed. They did not distinguish between impacts 
from private lands or public lands. 

In 1 995 the State Water Resources Control Board approved a California Rangeland Water 
Quality Management Plan, which includes best management practices (BMPs) applicable to 
grazing activities on privately-owned rangeland throughout the state. Appendix 8 identifies 



As defined within the Basin Plans, Water Quality Standards consist of both the designated "beneficial uses' and the water quality 
"objectives" needed to protect those beneficial uses. The standards are only one component of a Basin Plan. The entire Basin Plan, 
not just the standards, is the instrument that ensures water quality suitable for beneficial uses. Taken out of context of the Basin Plan, 
the water quality standards are often unachievable, and may raise unrealistic expectations. 

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the BMPs contained in the plan. The California State Director for BLM and the California 
State Water Resources Control Board have developed a Memorandum of Understanding 
regarding the management of non-point pollution sources on public lands administered by 
BLM. This agreement calls for the development of a water quality plan by BLM, part of which 
is to include best management practices for livestock grazing as well as other land uses. 
This plan is currently being drafted (the draft of the proposed livestock grazing section is in 
Appendix 10). When the plan is finalized and accepted by the State and U.S. EPA, the State 
will then enter into a Management Agency Agreement with BLM, formally recognizing BLM as 
a Designated Management Agency to manage non-point source water quality pollution 
activities under the Clean Water Act on public lands. 

The State of Nevada's Division of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Quality Planning 
establishes and administers water quality standards for lands within Nevada. The water 
quality standards for the State are identified as Water Quality Regulations, last revised in 
November 19,95. In addition the State Division of Environmental Protection and the Districts 
within the Nevada Division of Conservation have developed a Handbook of Best Management 
Practices (BMPs). This handbook identifies suggested BMPs to be used for land use 
activities, including livestock grazing. Appendix 9 identifies the BMPs suggested for livestock 
grazing in the Nevada handbook. 

An agreement has not yet been developed between the Nevada Division Of Environmental 
Protection and the California State Director of BLM involving procedures for obtaining 
designated management status for those lands administered in Nevada by the California State 
Director. 

Current conditions 

Grazing activities, if excessive, may contribute sediment, nutrients and pathogens into the 
water supply that adversely impact water quality and impair beneficial uses. Soil erosion is 
generally considered the primary cause of lowered water quality on rangelands, and is 
caused by the removal of vegetative cover and trampling of surface soils both near and up- 
slope of water bodies. Nutrients leached from manure may be introduced into surface water 
in areas where livestock congregate for water, feed, salt, and shade. Localized contamination 
by pathogens in surface and ground water may result from livestock, particularly where 
congregated near surface water bodies. Fecal coliform levels are the primary indicator of this 
contamination. Water temperatures (both summer and winter) are also affected by removal of 
vegetative cover. In the summer, this temperature increase will result in a reduced dissolved 
oxygen level. In the winter, temperature decreases will result in more freezing of the 
channels. Additionally, excessive grazing has altered channel configuration, and lowered 
water tables. 

In 1979, California BLM, under the requirements of Section 208 of the Clean Water Act, 
conducted a water quality problem assessment and published a report. Thirteen existing, 
suspected, or potential problems were identified that were associated with livestock grazing. 
The primary concerns were with sedimentation, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pathogens, 
and mechanical habitat alteration. A query of the involved Resource Areas in 1996 indicated 
that most non-source point water quality problems are now general in nature, and that some 
of the specific problems originally identified in the report have been resolved. 



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The State's Basin Plans have not identified specific non-compliance from BLM's grazing 
management activities and there have been no other identification of violations in complying 
with the Federal Clean Water Act or State Porter-Cologne Act resulting from BLM grazing 
management. The lack of known livestock associated water quality problems does not mean 
that they do not exist on Public Lands. Until recently the emphasis of most water quality 
studies has been on point sources of pollution, and there is, therefore, not yet a complete 
assessment of non-point source problems, particularly those related to livestock grazing on 
public lands. The concern by the public and resource managers that livestock grazing is an 
important non-point source of pollution has escalated in recent years; and it is expected that 
more intensive assessments will be made to determine the locations and magnitude of any 
problems. 

Currently there are several water bodies or portions of water bodies where livestock grazing 
activities on public rangelands are at least one of several suspected causes of non-point 
source pollution contributing towards impairment of the beneficial uses of the water. Some of 
these are identified in both the Basin Plans and the State-wide Assessment for California. As 
mentioned above, there is little information to make conclusions about the magnitude of the 
problem, about how much is due to the use of the public lands or stems from other 
ownerships, nor about what specific remedies are needed. Most of the livestock-related 
impairment identified in these documents occurs along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada 
and in the Great Basin ecoregion. 

There are also some areas within central California where public land livestock grazing 
activities are suspected to contribute to the acceleration of impairment, for example the 
introduction of selenium in some watersheds along the western portions of the San Joaquin 
Valley, and problems in the upper watershed areas of the Pit River. However, specifics 
regarding the cause or suggested remedies in these areas have yet to be determined. 

There has been some concern expressed too, at least in California, that livestock watering 
areas, particularly impoundments and watering facilities, may not meet standards for 
municipal supply. By State resolution, this beneficial use is applied to all waters of the State 
unless specifically exempted. Some Basin Plans have designated specific stock ponds as 
having beneficial uses of municipal supply. (Exceptions have formally been made for 
livestock watering impoundments in Nevada). However, discussions with some State and 
Regional Water Quality staff indicate that concerns for meeting this standard are usually 
limited to water bodies where the beneficial uses actually require this standard, such as areas 
for recreational swimming or for municipal water supplies. But this certainly is not a 
concensus among the State's staff. Similar concerns have also been expressed that the 
designation of livestock watering areas, including stock troughs, as having beneficial uses for 
contact recreation make compliance with this standard unrealistic. Unlike the State's 
resolution that all waters have the beneficial use as municipal supply, there is no clear 
method for obtaining exemptions to this beneficial use and the associated water quality 
objectives for contact recreation. To date, conformance with and enforcement of these 
standards on livestock waters has not been a high priority with the State as livestock grazing, 
being a non-point source of pollution, is not usually required to meet numerical drinking water 
standards unless there is a concern that a particular water body (inpacted by grazing) will not 
meet pre-treatment standards for potable use. 



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Improvement methods 

In some areas where livestock grazing was known to have contributed to impairment, 
remedies were put into place to eliminate or minimize the impairment. Some examples of 
remedies include the exclusion of concentrated livestock use at or near water bodies, either 
total exclusion through fencing or herding, or re-distribution of grazing activities. Measures 
have also been taken to reduce grazing levels in some of these areas, either through 
reducing the number of grazing animals, shortening the season, and/or changing the period 
of grazing to lessen the probability of impairment. Most current management measures 
designed to generally enhance riparian and wetland conditions also help improve water 
quality. 



3.5 WILDLIFE 

3.5.1 Wildlife Communities 

Livestock grazing occurs in a variety of wildlife habitats on BLM lands in California that 
include many of the natural vegetation types occurring within the three Floristic Provinces of 
California: the California Floristic Province, the Great Basin Province, and the Desert Province 
(Hickman 1993; see Map 4). This EIS evaluates grazing management in the California and 
Great Basin Provinces, where livestock grazing in wildlife habitats on BLM lands 
predominately occurs on annual grasslands in the coastal, Great Valley, and Sierran and 
Cascade foothill regions, and in the sagebrush steppe communities of the eastern Sierra 
Nevada and intermountain regions. 

Within the California Floristic and Great Basin provinces, livestock grazing on BLM lands 
occurs within 16 habitat types as described by Mayer and Laudenslayer (1988) for the 
California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System (CWHR). For analysis, these 16 habitats are 
combined into five vegetation and wildlife habitats: Annual grasslands, Pinyon-juniper, 
Chaparral, Sagebrush steppe, and Wetland-riparian. The acreage estimates of these 
vegetation types on BLM lands in California is shown in Table 3.5.1. Vegetative descriptions 
of these habitats are found in the previous vegetation section. 

These habitat types, as described by Mayer and Laudenslayer (1988), serve as a habitat 
classification system to predict and evaluate wildlife use on a habitat basis. The relationships 
between 650 species of wildlife and their habitats have been described and used to develop 
the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System. This system uses habitat models to rate 
the species preference for a habitat and successional stage based on research, published 
literature and expert opinion. A species preference for each habitat is rated as optimum, 
suitable, marginal or not used for life sustaining activities, such as reproduction, foraging, and 
cover (Airola 1988). Based on this information, these habitat types support numerous wildlife 
species that would be expected to occur on BLM lands within the EIS area (Table 3.5.1(a)). 



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Chapter 3 



Table 3.5.1 : Acres of CWHR Habitat Types on BLM Lands in California. 

(from FRRAP, 1988) 


iHabaiat Type 


Acres 

(state-wide, 

in 1 000s) 


Annual Grasslands 
Annual Grasslands 
Alkali Desert Scrub 

Valley Foothill Hardwood (Oak Woodland) 
Chaparral (Chamise-Redshank Chaparral, mixed Chaparral) 


350 
586 
411 
687 


Sagebrush Steppe 

Sagebrush, Bitterbrush, Low Sage, Aspen 
Pinyon-Juniper, and Juniper 


2,887 
766 


Wetland-Riparian 

Valley-Foothill Riparian and Montane Riparian 
Wet Meadow and Freshwater Emergent Wetland 


2 
68 



TABLE 3.5.1 (a): Number of Species expected to occur in each CWHR 
Habitat Type * 


Habitat Type 


Number of 
Amphibians 


Number 
of Birds 


Number of 
Mammals 


Number of 
Reptiles 


Annual 
Grassland 


10 


101 


43 


23 


Alkali Desert 
Scrub 


4 


87 


36 


20 


Oak Woodlands 


18 


137 


40 


28 


Coastal Scrub, 
Chamise- 
Redshank 
Chaparral, Mixed 
Chaparral 


17 


129 


64 


30 


Sagebrush, 
Bitterbrush, Low 
Sage 


3 


84 


55 


24 


Pinyon- 
Juniper, Juniper 


3 


135 


52 


30 


Aspen 


1 


80 


39 


3 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



TABLE 3.5.1 (a): Number of Species expected to occur in each CWHR 
Habitat Type * 


Habitat Type 


Number of 
Amphibians 


Number 
of Birds 


Number of 
Mammals 


Number of 
Reptiles 


Valley- 
Foothill Riparian, 
Montane 
Riparian, Wet 
Meadow 


27 


239 


73 


28 



# 



These are regularly occurring species that are expected to occur if all habitat components (food, water, cover, and 
habitat patch size) and features (eg. cliffs, burrows, water, trees, cavities, snags, etc.) were present in the Bakersfield 
and NORCAL BLM habitats. 

Excludes bats which may fly over and feed aerially. 



The numbers of wildlife species that occur in Table 3.5.1(a) reflect the large geographical 
scale of the EIS area and the combination of CWHR habitats listed. Thus, the numbers of 
species that may occur in these habitats on a particular parcel of BLM land would be less 
than predicted by the CWHR. However, the table reflects the relative richness of wildlife 
species that may occur among the listed habitat types. 



3.5.2 Big Game 

BLM lands in California support populations of mule deer, pronghom, tule and Rocky 
Mountain elk, and big horn sheep. The BLM's 1 993 Public Land Statistics estimated that over 
13,427,000 acres of BLM lands in California support big game animals. It is estimated that 
BLM lands provide habitat for 101,000 mule deer, 6,500 pronghom, 1,000 elk and 4,200 big 
horn sheep in the state (including the California Desert District). 

Mule Deer. The Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemoines columbianus) and 
California mule deer (Odocoileus hemoines californicus) are the two subspecies that occur on 
BLM lands in the EIS area (Walmo 1981). Columbian mule deer occur in the coastal and 
northern California ranges, while the California mule deer occur in the Sierra Nevada and 
Tehachapi ranges over to the central coast. 

Mule deer are most commonly associated with shrub and woodland habitats. In the coastal 
region of California, the preferred habitats include oak woodlands, chaparral, and riparian 
habitats, and the animals tend to be non-migratory. In the Great Basin, Sierra Nevada, and 
Cascade mountains, the preferred habitats include oak woodlands, forest communities, 
aspen, montane riparian, and meadows in the summer. Winter ranges occur in sagebrush 
and bitterbrush habitats on the east slopes and in chaparral, oak woodlands, riparian, and 
lower elevation hardwood conifer habitats on the west slopes when heavy snows force 
migrations to lower elevations. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



Food and cover requirements vary greatly between the regions of California. Stomach 
analysis of coastal animals show that they feed on browse, including acorns, consistently 
throughout the year for about 48% of their diets. Forbs made up about 28% of the diet, 
mostly consumed in the summer; and grass and grasslike plants were eaten in the cooler 
months for about 24% of the diet (Walmo 1981). In the Great Basin region, forbs and grasses 
and grasslike plants contribute a significant portion of deer spring summer diets, while 
sagebrush, bitterbrush and service berry make up 95% percent of winter diets. 

The relationship between mule deer and livestock grazing in California has been developing 
since the late 1700s when cattle and sheep were introduced with the development of the 
Spanish missions along the California coast (Burcham 1981). Cattle reached the north coast 
and Lassen County in the 1850's. Burcham (1981) reported cattle numbers of 253,599 head 
in 1850, increasing to 1,107,646 in 1950. For the same period, sheep numbers were 17,574 
in 1850 and 2,056,663 in 1950, with a peak of over 4 million head in the 1880's. Livestock 
numbers peaked in the 1870's, but then drought conditions and hard winters reduced 
numbers in the 1 880's and 1 890's. The overgrazing of the California rangelands and 
mountains in the 1 870's resulted in changes in shrub and forest vegetation that may have 
ultimately increased the numbers of deer in the state (CDFG 1991). 

The immediate effect of the heavy grazing of deer habitats and unregulated hunting was a 
decline of mule deer numbers in the late nineteenth century. However, during the period of 
1 900 to 1 960, deer numbers in California increased with estimates beginning in 1 932 at just 
under 500,000 deer to over 2,000,000 in 1960. This increase is attributed to several factors: 
vegetation changes to more shrubby types as a result of overgrazing; more shrub habitats 
resulting from logging activities that opened the closed forest canopies; increases in fires in 
forest and chaparral communities that promoted sprouting of young shoots and more open 
habitats; and then regulated hunting and enforcement (CDFG 1991). 

Since the 1960's there has been a decline in deer numbers not only in California, but across 
the western United States. Efforts have been made to relate this decline to factors such as 
habitat deterioration, predation, competition with livestock, habitat loss due to human 
development and hunting. However, none of these factors, individually or in combination, 
fully explains the population declines in all areas in which they occurred (CDFG 1991). 

Since the 1 970's, California's deer numbers have remained relatively stable at around 700,000 
head. Increases in deer numbers in the state appears to be primarily influenced by the 
quantity and quality of habitat available (CDFG 1991). 

Elk. Burcham (1981) noted that the early California settlers recorded elk as common to 
abundant in the coastal areas from Monterey Bay north to San Francisco, and throughout the 
Central Valley. They preferred the moister habitats in open country, occupying principally the 
margins of the marsh-grass community and areas that were not well drained. Herds of 1 ,000 
to 2,000 animals were recorded, with early explorers estimating elk numbers above 500,000. 
The number of tule elk declined steeply in the mid-1 800's due to market hunting and land use 
conversion to intensive agriculture. By the late 1860's, the elk of the central valley were 
reduced to one small herd in western Kern County (CDFG 1994a). 

Changes in elk habitat through the conversion of native perennial grasslands to annual 
grasslands have been attributed to livestock grazing. This grassland conversion resulted in 

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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



the loss of important forage plants used by elk in the summer and fall months (CDFG 1994a). 
However, it is unclear how this change may limit current population levels. 

The north coast of California is currently populated by 3,500 head of Roosevelt elk (Cervus 
elaphus roosevelti) in the coastal regions of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties. 
BLM lands that provide habitat for this species are not grazed by livestock. 

Tule elk {Cervus elaphus nannoides) occur on BLM lands in San Luis Obispo, Lake, and Inyo 
Counties where they were transplanted from the remaining herd located at Tupman, Kern 
County in the San Joaquin Valley. Transplantation of tule elk has been a successful 
conservation program that has increased state populations from 500 animals in three herds in 
1971, to over 2,700 animals in 22 herds distributed around the state in 1994 (CDFG 1994a). 
Approximately one-half of California's tule elk occur on local, state and federal public lands. 

Tule elk inhabfi: chamise chaparral, mixed chaparral, and oak woodlands/savannah in the 
Cache Creek herd in Lake County; chamise chaparral, mixed chaparral, juniper-oak 
woodlands, oak savannah, and annual grasslands in the La Panza herd in San Luis Obispo 
County; and in alkali desert scrub and desert riparian habitats in the Owens Valley. Livestock 
grazing conflicts are considered negligible in these herds. Food habit studies suggest no 
direct competition between cattle and elk because the forage species are widespread and not 
in short supply (CDFG 1994a). 

Pronghorn. Pronghorn (commonly called antelope) were originally distributed throughout the 
lower elevations of California from the outer borders of the marsh-grass community upward 
into the lower limits of the foothill woodland. They were noted by the early Califomian anglo 
settlers and Native Americans as plentiful from San Diego through the coastal valleys, the 
Central Valley, and north to the vicinity of Klammath Lake. They were most abundant in the 
San Joaquin Valley, where they formed herds of up to two or three thousand animals 
(Burcham 1981) with densities reported to be greater than any area west of the Mississippi. 
The twenty years following the gold rush of 1 848 saw great declines in pronghorn numbers 
due to market hunting, poaching, livestock competition, land use, agriculture, and other 
disturbances brought on by Anglo-American settlers (CDFG 1994b). 

Since the 1 940's, over 1 ,000 pronghorn antelope have been transplanted back to former 
historic ranges within California. Today, pronghorn remain abundant in the Modoc region of 
northeastern California, and they have been reintroduced into the coastal counties of San 
Luis Obispo, Monterey, and San Benito and into Mono County. Sizeable herds occur on BLM 
lands in nearly all of these areas, with over 66 percent of pronghorn range occurring on BLM 
and Forest Service public lands where livestock grazing is the primary land use (CDFG 
1994b). 

Increased agricultural production (alfalfa and grain crops), water development on public land, 
and more ecologically sound livestock grazing (now less destructive to wildlands in terms of 
over grazing and damage to vegetation) have likely been a great benefit to pronghorn 
antelope in California because of the increased availability of native forage, as well as high- 
quality forage crops grown for livestock on private lands (CDFG 1994b). 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



3.5.3 Upland Game 

BLM lands in California and Nevada provide habitats for a variety of upland, small game and 
waterfowl species. The upland species that occur on grazed rangelands include several 
species of rabbits and hares, California quail, mountain quail, chukar, sage grouse, morning 
doves, wild turkey, and ring-necked pheasant. The variety of habitats used by these species 
include all of the non-forested rangeland habitats in the EIS area, including grasslands, 
shrublands, and woodlands. Livestock grazing commonly occurs within the habitats of these 
animals. 

3.5.4 Riparian, Wetland, and Aquatic Communities 

Riparian Communities. Riparian habitats represent the most important wildlife habitats on 
California rangelands. More than any other western habitat, riparian woodlands are centers 
of high diversity and abundance of neotropical migratory birds (Bock et al. 1993). Less than 
1 % of the western United States contains riparian vegetation, yet more species use them for 
breeding than any other habitat type in North America (Douglas et al. 1992). The presence or 
absence of many neotropical migrant species in riparian habitats is directly tied to the 
complexity and density of vegetation structure, especially in the shrub and herbaceous layers 
(Dopkin 1994). At least twice as many birds may be found breeding in riparian areas than in 
adjacent non-riparian areas (Stevens et al. 1977) and many species of birds breed exclusively 
in riparian areas and are not found at all in adjacent habitats (Hurst et al. 1980). For foraging, 
these areas provide a complex of foliage, bark and ground substrates. These habitats 
provide feeding sites during migration; and during the summer, the low elevation riparian 
habitats provide the only lush, insect rich forest habitat available. 

Conservation of neotropical migratory land birds in the western United States depends greatly 
upon the protection and restoration of riparian woodlands. 

Wetland Communities. California's wetland habitats support winter populations of 8 to 10 
million ducks, geese, swans and other birds - about 60% of the entire Pacific Flyway 
population. Today's populations are estimated to be mere remnants of the hundreds of 
millions of waterfowl that once used millions of acres of wetlands in California. Loss of 
habitat due to agriculture and urban conversion has been the primary cause of populations 
declining (FRRAP 1988). 

The location of BLM lands in California in the upland portions of landscapes limits the amount 
of wetland bird habitat on public lands. However, there are 1 29,257 acres of BLM lands (BLM 
1989) supporting wetland species, and some special management areas managed by BLM 
make important contributions to conservation of wetland wildlife. Such areas include the 
Cosumnes River Preserve, BLM lands along the Sacramento River, and the Mattole River. In 
addition, there are numerous freshwater wetlands, alkali lakes, rivers and streams, flood 
control and domestic water reservoirs, stockwater reservoirs, and constructed wetlands that 
occur on BLM lands. 

BLM wetlands have not reached their potential to support waterfowl and other wetland 
wildlife. Livestock grazing has contributed to this situation, but management plans and 
grazing management systems are being implemented to improve these habitats. 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Fisheries. BLM lands in California include 3,500 miles of streams and 62,000 acres of lake 
and pond surface waters. There are 132 identified fish species in the state, of which 1 16 are 
native (67 endemic to California; BLM 1995). In northwest Nevada, there are eight native 
species and two endemic species. There are ten native species listed as threatened or 
endangered, 35 listed as California species of special concern, and over 50 percent of the 
native species are either at risk of extinction or in decline. Although there are few pristine 
aquatic systems remaining in the state, there are several with intact native fish communities 
that are managed by BLM in California. 

The condition of BLM aquatic habitats has not been rigorously inventoried and classified, but 
has been evaluated through the process of proper functioning condition assessments. In 
1995, BLM determined that, within the EIS area, 319 miles (28%) of stream habitat were in 
"proper functioning condition" to provide the habitat necessary for fish production, 807 miles 
(69%) were "functional at risk" due to degradation, and 37 miles (3%) were "non functional" 
and do not provide the characteristics necessary for fish production and survival (see 
Table 3.4.1 (a) on page 40). The BLM is working to complete proper functioning condition 
determinations for all riparian habitats with fisheries by the end of 1 997. Livestock grazing is 
estimated to occur on 33 percent of the BLM managed stream miles in the state. 



3.6 SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

Occurrence of special status species on BLM grazing allotments within the project area varies 
significantly by species. In some cases, the species have been recorded within Resource 
Area boundaries, but they are not known to occur on any grazing allotments. In other cases, 
the species are known to make year-round use of the grazed habitats. Other degrees of 
overlap and use of the grazing allotments include seasonal use, selective use of a specific 
habitat component (e.g. riparian), and occasional or incidental use by wandering individuals. 

Appendix 1 1 shows the 1 49 special status plant species with recorded occurrences on BLM 
lands within the project area. Thirteen of these species are federally listed (1 1 endangered, 3 
threatened) and 23 are state-listed (15 endangered, 3 threatened, and 9 rare). 

Appendix 12 shows the 43 special status animal species that are known or suspected to 
occur on BLM lands within the project area. Thirty-one of these species are federally listed 
(20 endangered, 11 threatened) and 23 are state-listed (19 endangered, 4 threatened). 

Both appendices show the species, the status, the Resource Area within which it occurs, and 
the effects of grazing upon the species. Where there is only minor overlap between a species 
occurrence and a BLM grazing allotment, that is also noted in the appendix. 



3.7 WILD HORSES and BURROS 

With the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act (Public Law 92-195) in 1971, Congress 
declared that wild horses and burros (Equus spp.) are to be considered an integral part of the 
natural system of the public lands. Among other things, the Act requires BLM to maintain a 
current inventory of wild and free-roaming horses and burros on public lands and to 
determine their appropriate management levels (AMLs). The appropriate management level 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 3 



of a given area is one that will preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and 
multiple-use relationship in that area. 

When BLM determines that an overpopulation of wild horses and burros exists on a given 
area and that action is necessary to remove excess animals, it must remove the excess 
animals to achieve appropriate management levels. Generally, BLM monitors environmental 
indicators and considers this information along with information that it has gathered about 
impacts caused by other use(s) (principally livestock grazing) and with available information 
concerning wild horse and burro demographics. These data are periodically analyzed to 
determine what constitutes an appropriate management level for a given area for a given 
period. Following this determination, BLM periodically gathers and removes sufficient animals 
to approximate the current AML for that herd management area. 

To administer the Act on public lands, 9 BLM California has designated 14 Herd Management 
Areas within the EIS analysis area. Map 6 depicts their general location. Each Herd 
Management Area is managed "on-the-ground" under the auspices of a Herd Management 
Area Plan, except for the Montgomery Wild Horse Territory which is managed through a 
Coordinated Resource Plan under the lead of the Inyo National Forest. Information about 
these management areas pertinent to this EIS is shown in Table 3.7, below. 



TABLE 3.7: Herd Management Area (HMA) information for HMA's in 
EIS Analysis Area 


HMA NAME 


SIZE 

(Acres 

BLM, and 

Other) 


GENERAL 
LOCATION 


AMLs a 

(Number of 

Animals) 


LAST 

CENSUS 

(Federal 

Fiscal 

Year) 


ESTIMATED 

CURRENT 

POPULATION" 


Fort Sage 


14,695 


NE California 


38* horses 


1994 


1 5 horses 


Twin Peaks 


797,927 


NE California 
and NW 
Nevada 


725* 
horses 

132* 
burros 


1994 


1071 horses 

123 burros 

15 mules 


Ravendale 


27,560 


NE California 


15* horses 


1996 


47 horses 


Red Rock 
Lakes 


16,895 


NE California 


21 * horses 


1993 


26 horses 


Devil's Garden 


236,000 


NE California 


305* 
horses 


1996 


280 horses 


Coppersmith 


70,760 


NE California 
and NW 
Nevada 


63 horses 


1996 


91 horses 



The Wild Horse and Burro Act also applies to lands in the National Forest system. 



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I TABLE 3.7: Herd Management Area (HMA) Snformation for HMA's in 
EIS Analysis Area 


Buckhorn 


65,640 


NE California 

and NW 
Nevada 


72 horses 


1996 


81 horses 


Fox Hog 


119,280 


NW Nevada 


63* horses 


1996 


31 4 horses 


High Rock 


115,100 


NW Nevada 


85* horses 


1994 


1 68 horses 


Wall Canyon 


49,277 


NW Nevada 


20 horses 


1994 


35 horses 


Nut Mountain 


40,680 


NW Nevada 


43 horses 


1994 


52 horses 


Bitner 


50,660 


NW Nevada 


20 horses 


1994 


27 horses 


Massacre Lakes 


40,730 


NW Nevada 1 5* horses 


1989 


41 horses 


Carter Reservoir 


23,200 


NW Nevada 
and NE 
California 


25* horses 


1989 


55 horses 


Montgomery 
Pass Wild 
Horse Territory 1 * 


207,921 


Central East 
California and 
Central West 

Nevada 


1 84 horses 


1996° 


1 49 horses 


15 Herds 


1 ,876,325 
Acres 




1694 

horses 

1 32 burros 




2452 horses 

1 23 burros 

15 mules 



Footnotes to Table 3.7 

a. With the exception of the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory (see footnotes d and e), the appropriate management 
levels listed in this column are the mid-points of population ranges that the herds are managed within, for each Herd 
Management Area, in accordance with a method known as "Structured Herd Management." Populations designated 
with an asterisk were established in the respective land use plan and based on the forage allocations contained in said 
plans. The other AML's were designated following a determination based on analysis of monitoring information that 
occurred subsequent to the approval of the land use plan. 

b. Except for those HMA's that were censused in 1996, current population estimates are based upon a formula that 
estimates a herd's population increase since the last census. This formula accounts for the following factors: 
recruitment rates expected in the years after a gather (accounting for an increased conception rate in the year following 
the removal, carrying through term, and foal survival); age structure of the herd following a removal; and mortality. 
Generally, over a period of 4 years, this rate of increase averages 17 percent. The Montgomery Pass Wild Horse 
Territory demographics have been and are being studied by Dr. John Turner (see footnote e). 

c. This Herd Management area occurs principally on the Modoc National Forest (227,500 acres MNF and private lands 
occurring in the MNF, and 8500 acres BLM and private lands occurring in the Alturas Resource Area BLM) and is 
managed in cooperation with the Modoc National Forest. 

d. The Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory is managed through a Coordinated Resource Plan under the lead of the 
Inyo National Forest. It includes lands administered by their Mono Lake Ranger District, the Toiyabe National Forest - 
Bridgeport Ranger District, the Carson City District BLM (Nevada), the Bishop Resource Area BLM (California), and 
State lands (California) and private lands. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 3 



e. This figure is based on a fall, 1996, inventory by Dr. John Turner. The Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Herd has not 

been gathered since 1 984. it is the only naturally regulated population of wild horses in the United States. The 
population trend of this herd has been studied since 1986 and is down. Spring and summer mountain lion predation is 
a significant factor affecting the demographics of this herd. (Dr. John Turner, Professor of Physiology, Medical College 
of Ohio, personal communication, November 4, 1996). 

All of the wild horses and burros occur in remote areas of the sagebrush steppe (see Section 
3.3.2 for a description). A review of the pertinent Herd Management Area plans indicates that 
land condition in the wild horse and burro HMAs generally is fair (based upon NRCS's poor, 
fair, good, excellent scale, as explained in Section 3.3.3, Upland Conditions and Trends), with 
some having relatively more poor condition land, and others having more good condition 
land. All support a host of wildlife species typical to the Great Basin including deer and 
pronghorn and numerous non-game species; however, "top-of-the-food-chain" predators such 
as mountain lions, that used to occur in greater abundance prior to settlement by the 
pioneers in the 1800's, are scarce. One herd management area supports bighorn sheep. 
Most have riparian areas, some to a greater extent than others. All support permitted 
livestock grazing - principally cattle with some sheep use. Most occur on lands in 
Wilderness Study Area status. Some have significant cultural resources. 

With the exception of the Montgomery Wild Horse Territory, which has a naturally regulated 
population, all of the populations are managed under the principals of Structured Herd 
Management. Under this technique, BLM periodically gathers the entire population of a herd 
(or, as close to the entire population as practicable) and specific animals from the gathered 
herds are placed back out on their range while the remainder are put into the BLM's wild 
horse and burro adoption program. In this way, the age structure, sex-ratio and animal 
characteristics (color and height) of each herd are purposefully managed by BLM. The 
effects of this technique on the social interactions in and among the herds is not known; 
however, it does not seem to significantly affect the viability of the populations. 

Livestock grazing occurs within all Herd Management Areas. There is considerable overlap of 
forage and habitat space between wild horses and burros and livestock. This overlap results 
from the similarities in the forage preferences between these ungulates, mainly for grasses 
and forbs. Usually the overlap is greater between cattle and wild horses and burros than with 
sheep, but there are exceptions depending upon the time of year used by livestock and what 
is available on the rangelands. Much of the time, these animals also use the same locations 
for watering and shelter or shade. However, wild horses tend not to use canyon bottoms or 
areas where their ability to spot predators might be limited. They usually limit their use of 
these areas to watering or for access to other more open areas. Due to the variability in 
terrain, vegetative communities, and other features, as well as the population and distribution 
of wild horses and burros, the areas and magnitude of overlap is usually quite varied and 
complex within the Herd Management Areas. In most Herd Management Areas, the overlap 
does not necessarily exist over the entire unit, but tends to be concentrated in specific areas. 
Of particular concern because of this overlap is the amount of degradation of riparian-wetland 
areas that is attributeable to wild horses and burros. In some areas, livestock are removed 
from riparian areas, and wild horses and burros then move in, thus giving the areas no rest. 

In order to determine the size of, and manage for, viable wild horse and burro populations in 
these Herd Management Areas, consideration needs to be given to the prudent allocation of 
forage available for both wild horses and burros, and livestock. Policies direct that the 
allocations are to be made based on the monitoring of forage use between the different 



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Chapter 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



animal species, conditions of the resources, requirements for sustaining viable wild horse and 
burro populations, and the proportions to be made or other previous commitments made in 
allocating forage between all of the competing ungulates that use the rangelands, including 
wildlife species such as deer, elk, and pronghorn. Although these allocations have been 
made in the past, the methods used and rationale for the allocations are often questioned by 
advocates for the different competing species, be they wild horses and burros, livestock, 
and/or wildlife. 

Determinations of how much of the forage is consumed and needed by each type of animal 
and how much should be allocated among the competing types of animals, continues to be 
highly controversial and continually challenged. There needs to be improvement in 
developing better scientific methods for determining the forage use and needs of the animals. 
There needs to be agreement and clear understanding (usually reflected in land use plans) of 
what the appropriate wild horse and burro population levels are for any given Herd 
Management Area. And there needs to be a clear understanding of what proportion of the 
forage is to be allocated to livestock and other competing animal populations. 

Range improvement facilities developed in the past, sometimes watering facilities, but 
particularly fences for controlling livestock, have not always been designed to consider the 
needs of wild horses and burros. Often these facilities interfere with the natural habits of the 
wild horses and burros, causing disruptions in movement across their range, population 
levels and dynamics. Likewise, wild horses and burros often cause damage to these facilities, 
requiring continuous maintenance and repair. 



3.8 RECREATION 

The public lands of California and Northwestern Nevada, with their tremendous variety of 
features, and their location within a few hours of large population centers and major airports, 
offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Recreational use of the lands managed by 
BLM continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, as the population of California grows, and the 
area grows as a destination for in-state, out-of-state, and foreign visitors. The 5.1 million 
acres of public lands covered by this study contain 1 3 recreation rivers, 32 developed 
campgrounds, dozens of trails and untold opportunities for semi-primitive outings in open, 
unspoiled country. 

Examples of recreational opportunities in the northwest part of the state include beaches and 
rugged mountains, offering equestrian, backpacking, and OHV opportunities. People watch 
wildlife such as sea lions and whales off-shore and Roosevelt elk in the meadows. Inland are 
OHV opportunities at South Cow Mountain, nature trails, and the Cache Creek Recreation 
Lands. Wildflowers are abundant, or a person can try to identify any of the 200-plus varieties 
of mushrooms that grow at Mad River Slough. The Upper Klamath, Trinity and Eel Rivers are 
home to salmon and steelhead, while the fierce rapids and calmer waters delight rafters. 

Northern California and northwestern Nevada have thousands of sagebrush-covered acres 
with wild horses and pronghorn, and excellent hunting for big game and waterfowl. The Bizz 
Johnson trail is used by hikers and bikers in the summer and skiers in the winter. Water 
sports and fishing are enjoyed at Eagle Lake. Prospecting for jasper and petrified wood in 
High Rock Canyon or exploring the Lassen-Applegate emigrant trail are also popular. The 

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Barrel Springs and Buckhorn Canyon Back Country Byways provide routes for those who 
really want to explore the area. 

Central California and the Eastern Sierra similarly have a myriad of recreational opportunities. 
Sightseers tour the Alabama Hills, where countless film classics were made. There are 
volcanic cinder cones to explore, miles of streams to fish, and trails to hike, mountain bike, or 
ride a horse or OHV. The Pacific Crest Trail wanders across BLM lands, as well as National 
Forests and National Parks. The Carrizo Plain, the state's largest nature preserve, and part of 
the Pacific Flyway, is a bird-watchers' paradise. The canyons of the Tuolumne, Merced, 
Yuba, and American Rivers attract rafters, kayakers, fishermen, and others, as well as people 
still looking for gold in the heart of the Mother Lode country. 

In Fiscal Year 96 (October 1, 1995 to September 30, 1996), there were about 3.75 million 
visits to these public lands (ranging from an hour to a couple of weeks), totalling more than 
3.04 million visitor days (12 hours = 1 visitor day), and contributing between $400-500 million 
to the local economies. Most of the users of the public lands - from fishermen to sightseers, 
OHV users to bird watchers - depend upon a properly functioning ecosystem to provide 
them with the recreational opportunity they desire. 

Grazing provides both positive and negative impacts to recreational use of the public lands. 
Some negative impacts are degradation of the environment in some areas, especially impacts 
to riparian areas and water quality (giardia), and the visual intrusion of seeing livestock in 
primitive areas where people expect a natural environment. Positive impacts are the visual 
impacts for those (especially foreign tourists) who see cattle as a bit of the "wild west." There 
are also a growing number of recreationists who come to partake of the "city slicker" type of 
cattle and horse drives increasingly being offered on public lands. 

There are also impacts to the health of the land from recreational use. These have not been 
systematically inventoried and totalled, but include in some locations: poorly constructed or 
designed roads, OHV routes, and equestrian and hiking trails that result in excessive erosion, 
or go through sensitive wet meadows or riparian areas; trampling of riparian vegetation by 
campers and fishermen; and intentional vandalism of cultural sites, range improvements, 
signs, etc. 



3.9 WILDERNESS 

Within the EIS area, BLM currently manages eleven wilderness areas totaling 1 62,500 acres. 
Seven of these, totaling over 1 10,000 acres, are grazed. BLM also manages 77 Wilderness 
Study Areas (WSAs) totaling approximately 1 ,197,000 acres. Sixty-two (62) of these, totaling a 
bit over 1 ,175,000 acres, are currently grazed. The wilderness areas or WSAs which are 
either grazed or permitted for livestock use are found in Appendix 13. 

The authority for managing wilderness areas is found in the 1 964 Wilderness Act, the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), and the Act establishing the specific area 
as wilderness. These Acts generally direct BLM to manage wilderness areas so their natural 
condition is preserved and the human influences in the area are substantially unnoticeable. 
As defined in the Wilderness Act, these areas must be at least 5,000 acres or of sufficient 
management size, appear to be affected primarily by the forces of nature, and have 

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outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. The 
overall goal for the wilderness management program is to ensure that each of these 
wilderness values are maintained or enhanced. To secure these values, the Wilderness Act 
prohibits certain uses within wilderness areas. Except as specifically provided for in the Act 
and subject to existing private rights, BLM cannot authorize commercial uses or the building 
of permanent roads in wilderness areas. Furthermore, except as necessary to meet the 
minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of the Wilderness Act 
(as defined in Section 2(a)), the Act prohibits temporary roads, use of motorized vehicles, 
motorized equipment or motor boats, landing of aircraft, mechanical transport, and structures 
or installations within any wilderness area. 

The Wilderness Act provides a special provision for grazing use. Section 4(c) (4) (2) states that 
the grazing of livestock where established prior to the effective date of an area's wilderness 
designation shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable regulations (a more 
detailed explanation of this provision is found in the Congressional guidelines regarding 
"Grazing in National Forest Wilderness Areas" published in House Report 96-1126, dated 
June 24, 1980). Grazing in BLM wilderness is currently managed under 43 CFR 4100 and 
43 CFR 8560. Existing grazing may include not only the utilization of forage, but also the use 
and maintenance of the livestock management developments and facilities associated with 
the grazing activity at the time of the designation and which are in compliance with an 
approved Allotment Management Plan. For specific grazing actions in wilderness, the BLM 
8560 manual titled "Management of Designated Wilderness Areas" provides additional 
guidance. 

The authority for managing Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) is primarily outlined in Sections 
202 and 603 of FLPMA. This Act required BLM to either inventory its public lands or 
determine through future land use plans which areas have wilderness values as defined in the 
1964 Wilderness Act (i.e., 5,000 acres or of sufficient management size, naturalness, 
outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined form of recreation). If 
areas had these values, they were designated as WSAs. 

Managing WSAs is different than managing a congressionally designated wilderness. As with 
wilderness areas, the preservation of a WSA's wilderness values is always paramount and is 
the primary consideration for evaluating any proposed action or use that may impact those 
values. However, BLM's management goal for WSAs (in contrast to wilderness areas) is to 
ensure actions affecting WSAs do not impair their suitability for preservation as wilderness 
(commonly called the "non-impairment mandate"). Subject to exceptions, certain 
non-impairment criteria must be met before any action is approved in a WSA. For example, 
proposed facilities or uses must be temporary (i.e., the use does not create a surface 
disturbance and can be easily terminated), and they cannot constrain Congress's prerogative 
regarding the area's suitability for preservation as wilderness. As they relate to grazing, 
certain exceptions to this standard could apply. These could include uses or facilities which 
clearly protect or enhance wilderness values (e.g., the removal of man-made facilities) or 
actions which are considered grandfathered (e.g., grazing management as was occurring on 
or before the passage of FLPMA). However, even these exceptions must still be managed to 
prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the public resources. BLM handbook H-8550-1 
titled "Interim Management Policy for Lands under Wilderness Review" provides additional 
guidance for managing grazing uses within WSAs. 



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3.10 CULTURAL RESOURCES 

Cultural resources are divided into two categories, cultural properties and traditional lifeway 
values. These are the material items and places, and the beliefs and behaviors, that define 
the culture and cultural history of a group of people. For a brief cultural history (prehistoric 
and historic) of the western United States, see Chapter 3 of the Draft Rangeland Reform '94 
EIS(BLM, 1994). 

3.10.1 Cultural Properties 

Cultural properties are physical remains of human cultures. They can be of prehistoric or 
historic origin. Typical examples are historic districts, sites, buildings and artifacts that are 
important in past and present human events. Cultural properties are managed primarily 
through the Section 1 06 (National Historic Preservation Act) compliance process. Before 
authorizing surface disturbance, BLM must list cultural properties eligible for inclusion on the 
National Register of Historic Places and consider the effects of the proposed undertaking 
through the consultation process in Section 1 06. 

Being the tangible remains of human cultures, cultural properties are subject to physical 
impacts from livestock grazing, in riparian zones, around springs and watering tanks, along 
livestock trails and fences, and in confined areas such as holding pens, livestock trampling 
can significantly impact and potentially destroy shallow archeological sites. The impact on 
riparian zones is particularly significant since cultural resources site densities tend to be 
higher in these areas. Not only do livestock accelerate bank erosion along streams where 
cultural deposits are often buried, but the depletion of ground cover through trampling and 
overgrazing hastens the erosion of cultural properties by wind and rainfall. Additionally, cattle 
rubbing against objects can destroy historic structures and rock art (BLM, 1994). 

Cultural properties may also be damaged by earthmoving equipment such as bulldozers, 
backhoes, drills, and hand tools, or when roads, trails, and other access routes are 
developed, maintained, or improved to facilitate rangeland operations. The severity of effects 
varies with the intensity of the proposed activities. Additionally, cultural properties near 
rangeland activities are vulnerable to increased vandalism, theft, and impacts from vehicle use 
(BLM, 1994). 

3.1 0.2 Traditional Lifeway Values 

A traditional lifeway value is important for maintaining a specific group's traditional system of 
religious belief, cultural practice, or social interaction. A group's shared traditional lifeway 
values are abstract, nonmaterial, ascribed ideas that cannot be discovered except through 
discussion with members of the group. Lifeway values may or may not be closely associated 
with definite locations. 

Native Americans 

Native Americans use their local environments to gather native plants, animals, and minerals 
for use in religious ceremonies, rites of passage, folk medicine, subsistence, and crafts. In 
Native American religious practice, any environment can contain specific places that are 
significant for spiritual purposes. Those sacred places embodying spiritual values are often 

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associated with indigenous rock art, rock cairns and effigy figures, spirit trails and spirit gates, 
caves, mountain peaks, and springs or lakes. Contemporary use areas are associated with 
traditional plant and mineral collection locales, vision quest sites, shrines, and traditional trails. 

Federal concerns with Native American traditional lifeway values primarily respond to the 
American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1 978 (see Appendix 3 for a more complete list of 
various cultural resource laws). This act requires federal agencies to evaluate their policies 
and procedures, with the aim of protecting the religious freedom of Native Americans. But in 
compliance with several laws and executive orders, as well as a sincere desire to ensure that 
Native Americans can continue to practice their traditional lifeways, it is BLM policy to consult 
with tribal groups whenever a proposed activity on BLM land might adversely affect that 
group's ability to continue those traditional lifeways. 

As the livestock industry has developed over the past 200 years in California, Native American 
traditional lifeway values have been considerably altered. Historically, ranching (starting with 
the Spanish missions) has directly conflicted with Native American traditional lifeway values; in 
many cases, totally destroying people's ability to practice those lifeways. Even where the 
traditional lifeways are being continued, grazing on public lands can interfere with those 
lifeways. Some examples are: 

Destruction of traditionally used resources (through vegetative treatments, 
overgrazing). 

Denial of access to traditionally used plants during the relatively short periods when 
they may be available; or denial of access to enhance the habitat (traditionally, many 
areas were burned or otherwise manipulated by Native Americans to enhance 
propagation of certain species, etc.). 

Sacred sites and burials may be damaged or desecrated by livestock. 

Some religious practices require solitude and isolation. 

Ranching Communities 

Participants in traditional ranching life are carrying forward a significant part of the world's 
image of America and America's image of itself. Western ranching communities have 
traditional activities, social behaviors, and values that are part of the Nation's historic, cultural, 
and natural heritage. An integral part of this tradition are the traditional cultural properties 
that have developed over the years, including the associated landscape with its developed 
springs, wells, and watering tanks, fencelines, wild horse traps, corrals, ranch houses, sheep 
herding camps, shearing pens, loading chutes, grange halls and community centers, and 
one-room school houses. 

This traditional western ranching culture can be traced to the 1 600s in California. It involves 
the production of cattle and sheep, mainly through grazing and haying of forage. The identity 
of many small towns and communities in northern, central and eastern California continues to 
be associated with this tradition, and its activities, behaviors and values. 



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However, due to the economics of the livestock industry, many small ranching communities, 
or families within these small communities, are struggling to maintain their traditional lifestyle. 
More and more of these ranchers are working jobs off the ranch to secure greater financial 
stability, and support their families. The number of ranchers whose main occupation is not 
ranching has increased substantially over the past 20 years. Part-time ranching has become 
a growing part of U.S. agriculture. This rural economic diversification has enabled many 
ranching families to remain in ranching part time, and maintain their traditional ranching 
lifestyle. 

But at the same time, as demographics change, and more people flee the big cities to live 
and work in these small communities, they are bringing a different culture with different value 
systems into these communities, thereby introducing another element that threatens the 
traditional livestyles and values of these communities. 



3.11 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 

Changes in the BLM grazing program have the potential to economically affect livestock 
operators, local governments and communities, as well as the expenditures of the BLM 
rangeland management program. The economic impact of each Standard and Guideline 
alternative will be analyzed for each of the entities listed above. 

The economic impact variables that will be analyzed in this document are: livestock revenues 
and expenses and ranch permit value, state and county income, employment, government 
transfer payments, and California possessory interest taxes. These variables will be examined 
for the EIS study area and principal grazing counties. 

3.1 1 .1 The Western United States 

3.11.1.1 The Western Livestock Industry 

While livestock operators with permits to graze on federal land are economically important 
regionally and to local communities, they are only a small part of the national beef and lamb 
industry. There are an estimated 22,350 separate livestock operators who hold permits to 
graze on federal rangelands (Fowler 1993). These operators comprise 3.4% of all livestock 
operations in the country. Eighty-two percent of the permits are for cattle grazing and 18 
percent for sheep. These and the following Western Region statistics are drawn from the 
1994 Rangeland Reform EIS (RR 94; BLM 1994). 

In the 1 1 western states, where federal rangeland is concentrated, permittees and lessees 
make up 22 percent of total beef producers and 1 9 percent of sheep producers. The permits 
provide about 25 percent of all forage consumed by beef cattle in a year. BLM administered 
land makes up about 5 percent of the overall annual feed requirements for sheep operations. 

The importance of federal rangelands to livestock production can also be measured by 
rancher dependency on federal forage. This dependency is measured as a percentage of 
how much of the annual forage required is supplied from federal rangeland. The average 
dependency varies greatly by state due to such factors as the amount of federal land and 
weather. Average dependency of permittees on federal forage is highest in Arizona where 

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there is year-round grazing (60 percent), and lowest in Montana where there is less federal 
land and weather is a iarge factor prohibiting year-round grazing (11 percent). The cattle 
forage dependency percentages were 15 percent for California and 36 percent in Nevada. 
The comparable percentages for sheep were 24 and 43 percent. 

3.11.1.2 Western Employment and Income - Regional Trends 

Changes in the livestock industry are a part of the larger dynamics in Western agriculture. 
Employment in the agriculture industry grew from 1.28 million jobs in 1982 to 1.48 million in 
1990. Even though agricultural employment is up, it is becoming less significant in the 
regional economy. In 1982, agricultural employment accounted for 5.8 percent of total 
employment. By 1990, this proportion had fallen to 4.5 percent of all Western employment. 

The 1 6 western and Great Plains states had a $1 trillion dollar economy in 1 982 (1 993 
dollars). This figure increased to about $1 .35 trillion in 1990. All sectors except agriculture 
showed positive growth in income over the period. 

3.1 1 .1 .3 Western Ranch Income and Operations 

The western livestock industry and federal forage are economically important, regionally and 
locally. Federal rangelands are essential to the economic vitality of many family farms and 
ranches. In some western communities, ranching is the main economic activity. 

The 1 990 Farm Costs and Returns Survey of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic 
Research Service, included a random sample of U.S. beef cow-calf operations. The study 
analyzed the ranching economics of permittees compared to livestock operations that did not 
hold grazing permits on federal land, in eleven western states, and found that there were very 
significant differences. As shown in the following table, operators with federal grazing permits 
average more than twice the herd size of non-permittees (221 to 93). 



Table 3.11.1.3: Western United States Beef/Lamb Livestock Operation Ranch and 
Herd Size, Permittees and Non-Permittees in 1 990 




Permittees 


Non-Permittees 


Number of Ranches 


6678 


49,658 


Average Herd Size 
(Number of Cows) 


221 


93 


Percent of Operations with: 


Fewer than 1 00 Cows 


33.9 % 61 .6 % 


1 00 to 499 Cows 


56.9 % 


35.1 % 


500 or more Cows 


9.2 % 


3.3 % 



Source: 1990 Farm Costs and Returns Survey cited in Rangeland Reform 94 EIS. 



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This survey also found that there were significant differences in ranching economics. The key 
difference is that permittee operation expenses were lower than livestock operators without 
federal permits. Permittees' expenses were $146 per cow less. Three factors account for 
most of the difference: 1) non-permittees bought more cattle, which is more expensive than 
raising your own ($43 per cow difference); 2) non-permittees did not have as much land and 
therefore had to buy more feed, which is also more expensive ($57/cow difference; and, 3) 
the non-permittee capital expenditure per cow (machinery, equipment, etc.) was much higher 
($40 per cow difference) because they typically have much smaller herd sizes (average 93 
animals to 221 for permittees) and the economy of scale factor applies. 

While expenses were lower, per-cow receipts were also lower for permittees compared to 
livestock operators who did not use federal land for grazing. Permittee receipts were $63 per 
cow less. One explanation of the receipt difference is that cattle raised on federal land have 
lower weights when they are sold. Weight gains on federal lands drop significantly as the 
forage dries out and loses nutritional value. In the Intermountain West, while high elevation 
rangeland will retain higher nutritional value for much of the grazing season, lower elevation 
rangeland dries out significantly and cattle can actually lose weight in late summer and fall. 

The market demand for beef cattle forage depends on cattle prices, which fluctuate with an 
approximate 1 0-year cycle. This is illustrated in Nevada calf prices in the last ten years (NV 
Agricultural Statistics Service). 1995 prices were similar to 1985 with monthly highs and lows 
during the year from 51 .8 to 77.2 cents per pound. But in 1991 and 1993 calf prices never 
went below 86.3 cents per pound and in both years calves brought over one dollar a pound 
(high of $1 .089) in some months. An 800 pound calf sold In April of 1 991 brought in $871 .20 
for the rancher. That same type calf in September of 1 995 made $41 4, a difference of 
$457.20, with perhaps no difference in what it cost to raise that calf. 

The 1 990 USDA Farm Costs and Returns Survey (FCRS) studied cost and return data for 
cow-calf operations (Shapouri et al. 1993). Based on a representative random sample of all 
Western livestock operations, the study found that the average permittee operation with 221 
cows had cash receipts of $95,502. Total cash expenses were $75,742, and capital 
expenditures were $1 8,446, which yields a net cash return of $1 ,31 4. As seen in the following 
table, cash returns (revenues minus cash costs) are positive for operators at all benchmark 
levels of herd size and dependency on public forage. 



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Table 3.10.1.3(a): Cow-Calf Costs and Returns for Western Permitted Ranches 




Permit Dependency on Federal Forage 


Low (1 0.9%) 


Average (36%) 


Medium (43.8%) 


High (85%) 


Herd Size 


308 


221 


217 


93 


Ranch Revenue 


$153,313 


$95,502 


$94,178 


$37,705 


Revenue per 
cow 


$498 


$431 


$434 


$405 


Ranch Cash 
Costs 


$108,616 


$75,742 


$82,718 


$29,333 


Returns after 
Cash Costs 


$44,697 


$1 9,760 


$1 1 ,460 


$8,372 


Returns per 
Cow 


$145 


$86 


$53 


$90 



Source: 1990 Farm Costs and Returns Survey cited in Rangeland Reform 94 EIS. 



3.11.1.4 Permit Value in the Western United States 

A value associated with a federal grazing permit is considered in the purchase and sale of 
ranch property. This economic value is different from a recognition of permit value by federal 
land management agencies. The Taylor Grazing Act, the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act, grazing regulations and case law, have consistently held that issuance of a 
grazing permit does not create any right or title to the permit owner. 

Despite this, banks (including the Federal Home Loan Bank) and the Internal Revenue Service 
consider the value of permits when property is transferred. A 1993 Forest Service - BLM 
report found average permit values range from $36 per AUM in Wyoming to $89 per AUM in 
New Mexico. 

3.1 1 .1 .5 Government Transfer Payments 

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) 

Under the PILT Act, Congress makes payments to local units of government to compensate 
for the lack of local property tax revenue from federal land. This payment supplements the 
other federal revenue sharing payments - such as grazing fee receipts -- that local 
governments receive. PILT payments are subject to a payment ceiling based on a county's 
population. 

In 1992, Payment in lieu of Taxes for BLM and U.S. Forest Service land totaled $79,933,891. 



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Grazing Fee Receipt Distributions 

Grazing fee receipts are distributed according to two different legislative requirements. In 
each case, fifty percent is returned to the BLM District where the fees were paid for projects 
under the BLM Range Improvement Fund. The states receive a varying percentage (12.5 to 
50%) for distribution to the county of origin. In 1991, BLM grazing fee receipts distributed 
$8,685,000 to the Range Betterment Fund and $3,21 6,000 to states and counties. 

3.1 1 .1 .6 Western United States Federal Rangeland Management Revenues and Costs 

The costs of managing public rangeland are shown in Table 3.10.1 .6. Livestock grazing 
expenses refers to the direct grazing program costs for such things as administering permits, 
designing grazing systems, livestock structures (e.g. fences) and completing NEPA analysis 
and documentation. The non-grazing expenses refers to work related to rangeland 
conditions (e.g. vegetation, water) and includes costs associated with monitoring, 
assessments and improvement. In 1993, grazing fee receipts collected by BLM and the 
Forest Service totaled $28.1 million (RR94, 3-72). BLM and Forest Service Rangeland 
Management Program Costs for 1993 totaled $94,036,000 (RR94, 3-10). The total rangeland 
program cost was calculated at $5.76 per AUM. In 1993, the grazing fee was $1 .86 per Aum. 
The Farm Costs and Returns Survey of western livestock operations concluded that BLM and 
Forest Service grazing fee expenses represent about 3 percent of total cash cost for 
ranchers. 



Table 3.1 1 .1 .6: BLM and Forest Service Rangeland Management Program Costs for 
1993 


BLM and 
U.S.F.S. Lands 


Rangeland Program Costs 


Livestock Grazing 
Expenses 


Nongrazing 
Expenses 


Total ($1 ,000) 


Cost/AUM 
($) 


Total ($1 ,000) 


Cost/AUM 
($) 


Total 
($1,000) 


Management 


$77,045 


4.72 


$52,683 


3.23 


$24,362 


Improvements 


$16,991 


1.04 


$12,456 


0.76 


$4,535 


Totals 


$94,036 


5.76 


$65,139 


3.99 


$28,897 



Source: Range Reform EIS 94, p. 3-10. 



3.11.2 State of California (and N.W. Nevada) 

The economic impact analysis for the proposed Standards and Guidelines in this study will be 
applied to 36 of California's 58 counties. Six Southern California counties lie entirely within 
the California Desert District which is not a part of this Standards and Guidelines decision. 
The BLM land in two counties, Kern and Inyo, lie primarily in areas administered by the Desert 
District and only that portion of those counties within the EIS area will be considered in this 
analysis. Thirteen northern California counties do not have any land in the BLM grazing 



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program. The counties included in this analysis will be discussed further in the next section 
of the economic analysis. 

The EIS will also address potential impacts for two Nevada counties. The BLM Surprise 
Resource Area (Cedarville, CA) and Eagle Lake Resource Area (Susanville, CA) offices 
administer 1 ,563,308 acres of public land in northern Washoe county and 22,347 acres in 
northwestern Humboldt County, Nevada. All of the economic analysis for the area in Nevada 
will be analyzed in the county section to follow. 

3.1 1 .2.1 California Employment and Income by Major Industry 

The most recent statistics on the California economy from the U.S. Bureau of Economic 
Analysis show that overall employment decreased while personal income rose in the period 
from 1989 to 1994 (USBEA 1996). But in the agriculture industry, both personal income and 
employment decreased and agriculture decreased in importance as a proportion of the total 
California economy. It should be noted that the income from agriculture is proportionally 
much more important than agricultural employment in California, with income and 
employment from agriculture representing 1 and 1 .66 percent of state totals respectively. 



Table 3.11.2.1(a): California Farm and Non-Farm Employment, 1989 and 
1994 




1989 


% Total 


1994 


% Total 


Farm Employment 


275,489 


1 .69% 


267,629 


1 .66% 


Non-Farm 
Employment 


16,314,476 


98.31% 


16,074,977 


98.34% 


Total Employment 


16,589,965 


100.00% 16,342,606 100.00% 



Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1996 



Table 3.11.2.1(b): California Farm and Non-Farm Total Personal income, 1989 and 
1994. ($000) 


1989 


% Total 


1994 


% Total 


Farm 7,489,757 


13.00% 


7,163,089 


10.00% 


Non-Farm 


565,765,073 


87.00% 


695,166,158 


90.00% 


Total 


573,254,830 


100.00% 


702,329,247 


1 00.00% 



Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1 996 



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3.1 1 .2.2 California Livestock Operations and Production 

There were over 22,700 livestock operations in California in 1 992 with an inventory of over 5.5 
million cattle and sheep. During the 5 year period from 1 987 to 1 992, the number of beef 
cattle operations decreased almost 1 4 percent and sheep operations decreased almost 20 
percent. But while the numbers of sheep have sharply declined, the numbers of cattle have 
increased. The decrease in the number of cattle ranches but with an increase in cattle 
numbers has been a consistent pattern for over 30 years in California. 

The increase in the beef cattle numbers, plus good market prices for beef produced higher 
total cattle sales ($) in 1992. But the drop in the lamb/sheep inventory numbers was 
associated with decreased sales ($) for that industry. 



Table 3.11.2.2(a): Number of California Farms/Ranches 1992 and 5 year Change 


Livestock Type 


Number in 1992 


% Change 1987-1992 


Cattle Farms/Ranches 


19,097 


-13.7% 


Sheep/Lamb 
Farms/Ranches 


3,692 


-19.8% 



Table 3.11.2.2(b): California Livestock Inventory 1992 and 5 year Change 


Livestock Type 


Number in 1 992 


% Change 1987-1992 


Cattle and Calves 


4,702,114 


+2.9% 


Sheep/Lambs 


859,835 


-12.2% 


Source: 1992 Census of Agriculture, U.S. ti 


epartment of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 



Table 3.11.2.2(c): California Livestock Sales 1992 and 5 Year Change 


Livestock Type 


1992 Sales ($1,000) 


% Change 1987-1992 


Cattle & Calves 


$1 ,580,381 


+ 8.97 % 


Sheep, Lamb, Wool 


$52,197 


-0.1184 



California agricultural sales totaled approximately 17.05 billion dollars in 1992 and beef and 
sheep/lamb livestock sales comprised 9.6 percent of that total. 

By contrast, in Nevada in 1 995, beef cattle and sheep/lamb sales accounted for 37.7 percent 
of all agricultural sales (Nevada Dept. of Business). 



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3.1 1 .2.3 Government Transfer Payments -- PILT, Grazing Fees 

Payment in Lieu of Taxes 

Payment in Lieu of Taxes to California in 1996 totaled $10,981,192. This figure is five percent 
higher than the comparable 1993 payment. California and New Mexico receive the highest 
PILT payments per year. Nevada PILT payments totaled $7,061 ,300. 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing 

State and local governments also receive payments under the Taylor Grazing Act. These 
payments in California totaled $188,963 in Fiscal Year 1996. This figure is 34 percent higher 
than in 1993 and 36 percent higher than 10 years ago. Payment to Nevada totaled $357,583 
for 1994 (most recent year). 

These payments are based on grazing fees paid for actual use rather than the total forage 
authorized under a grazing permit as measured in AUM's. 

In 1996, 332,117 AUM's were authorized (active preference on grazing leases). 230,537 
AUM's were actually used with the grazing fee paid. There were 1 01 ,580 AUM's of non-use. 
(See Section 3.2.2 for a short discussion on non-use.) 

3.11.2.4 BLM Rangeland Management Program Expenses 

In 1 996, the rangeland management program in the EIS study area cost $1 ,328,801 . This 
amount represented 58.9 percent of the total California BLM rangeland program cost. The 
cost break down for the EIS sub-regions is shown in the following table. It was noted 
previously that the BLM/ Forest Service agency management cost per AUM was $3.99. 



Table 3.11.2.4: Rangeland Program Costs by BLM Grazing Districts 


Office 


Labor Costs 


Operations 


Total 


AUM's 


Cost/ 
AUM ($) 


NORCAL EAST 


$572,719 


$208,601 


$781 ,320 


207,895 


$3.76 


BAKERSFIELD 


$324,306 


$109,586 


$433,892 


123,134 


$3.52 


NORCAL WEST 


$101,602 


$1 1 ,987 


$113,589 


9,470 


$1 1 .99 


Total 


$998,627 


$330,174 


$1 ,328,801 


340,499 


$3.90 



Source: BLM California State Office, Range Management Program, 1996 



3.1 1 .3 Principal BLM Grazing Program Counties 



The 5.844 million acres of Public Land in the EIS involves 44 counties, 42 in California and 
parts of two in Nevada (Washoe and Humboldt). While ten BLM Resource Area offices 



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administer the public land in this region, six of the offices manage 95% of the livestock 
numbers as measured by authorized animal unit months (AUM'S) (323,250 of 340,499). 

These six BLM offices are: Surprise, Alturas, Caliente, Eagle Lake, Bishop and Hollister. The 
Public Land administered by these offices lie in 21 separate counties. But most of the Public 
land in these six Resource Areas lies in the following nine counties: Fresno, Kern, Lassen, 
Modoc, Mono, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, California and Washoe, Nevada. The 
4,740,883 acres in these counties represents 81 % of the total 5.844 million acres of Public 
Land identified as the total EIS study area (see Map 7). 

The nine counties vary greatly in size from over 1 .5 million acres of BLM land in Washoe 
County and one million in Lassen county to 89,506 acres in San Benito County. Table 3.10.3 
also shows that only a portion of the BLM land is used for livestock grazing. In one case, 
Fresno County, only about half of the BLM land is grazed. 



Table 3.11.3 Total BLM Acres and Acres Grazed, by County in 1994 



County 



Washoe, NV [CA BLM] 



Lassen 



Kern 



Mono 



Modoc 



San Luis Obispo 



Fresno 



Tulare 



San Benito 



BLM Total Acres 



1 ,563,308 



1 ,009,458 



243,400 



554,985 



272,388 



243,742 



153,528 



119,707 



BLM Acres Grazed 



1 ,563,308 



992,665 



156,388 



420,601 



227,230 



190,194 



78,447 



97,050 



89,506 



45,768 



Source: Total acres, CA State Office, NV, BLM GABS Program; Acres Grazed, CA BLM Field Offices. 
* Acreage figures represent only that portion of Kern Co. that is within the Caliente R.A. 

Humboldt County, Nevada, is a very large county geographically with over 6.2 million acres. 
In Humboldt County, the 22,347 acres administered by California BLM represents only a very 
small amount (one-third of one percent) of the total County land base. Because the land 
involved is such a small part of the county, and no people reside in this region of the County, 
no Humboldt County economic impacts will be conducted. The two livestock operators 
involved, reside in Marin and Modoc counties in California. Most of the AUM's are held by 
the Modoc County resident and economic impacts will be included in the analysis for Modoc 
County. 



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3.11.3.1 County Geographic Size, Total Population and Population Density 

There is a large difference in population size and density between the nine principal counties. 
Fresno and Kern counties have major metropolitan areas and over 600,000 county residents. 
On the other hand, three counties - Lassen, Mono and Modoc - have less than 30,000 people 
and very low population densities across the county. 



Table 3.1 1 .3.1 : 1 994 Population Size, Acreage, and Population Density, by County 


County 


Population 


Acreage 


Density/Sq Mile 


Fresno 


729,700 


3,851 ,450 


121.3 


Kern 


609,300 


5,223,700 


74.6 


Tulare 


343,300 


3,097,220 


70.9 


Washoe, NV 


282,900 


4,178,649 


43.3 


San Luis Obispo 


223,700 


2,314,070 


61.9 


San Benito 


41 ,000 


890,120 


29.5 


Lassen 


28,100 


3,021,190 


5.9 


Mono 


10,400 


2,004,410 


3.3 


Modoc 


9,700 


2,690,310 


2.3 



3.11.3.2 County Employment and Income 

The following tables rank the nine counties relative to the importance of the agricultural 
industry as a percentage of total employment and income. Agricultural employment is 
proportionally most important in Modoc County but agricultural income is the most important 
in the Central Valley county of Tulare. 



Table 3.11.3.2(a): Counties Ranked by Importance of Agricultural Industry 
Employment 


Location 


Agricultural 
Employment 


Total Employment 


Agricultural 
Percentage 


California 


267,629 


16,074,977 1.7% 


Modoc County 


666 


4,106 


16.2% 


San Benito Co 


2,021 


16,317 


12.4% 


Tulare Co 


16,809 


152,207 


1 1 .0% 



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Table 3.11.3.2(a): Counties Ranked by Importance of Agricultural Industry 
Employment 


Location 


Agricultural 
Employment 


Total Employment 


Agricultural 
Percentage 


Fresno Co 


28,874 


361 ,357 


8.0% 


Kern Co 


16,965 


262,281 


6.5% 


Lassen 


596 


1 1 ,833 


5.0% 


San Luis Obispo 


3,922 


110,139 


3.6% 


Mono 


102 


7,718 


1 .3% 


Washoe Co, NV 


425 


194,096 


0.2% 



Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1996 



Table 3.1 1 .3.2(b): Counties Ranked by Importance of Agricultural Industry Income 


Location 


Agricultural Income 
(000's) 


Total Income (000's) 


Agricultural 
Percentage 


California 


7,163,089 


702,329,247 


1 .0% 


Tulare County 


544,453 


5,418,349 


10.0% 


San Benito Co 


49,371 


707,677 


6.9% 


Fresno Co 


757,229 


12,701,465 


6.0% 


Kern Co 


565,341 


10,057,115 


5.6% 


Modoc Co 


4,286 


150,765 


2.8% 


Lassen 


7,651 


440,807 


1 .7% 


San Luis Obispo 


68,978 


4,286,114 


1 .6% 


Mono 


1,685 


21 1 ,345 


0.8% 


Washoe Co, NV 


3,465 


7,655,901 


0.1% 



Source: Regional Economic Information System, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1996 



The very low relative importance of agriculture in Washoe County, Nevada is due to the fact 
that the city of Reno dominates the county's economy. Although Mono County is a rural 



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county with a small population, agriculture contributes only a small percentage of employment 
and income there too. These two very different counties have one important economic 
element in common - a strong tourism industry. The following table documents the 
economic impact of travel and tourism in each of the principal counties. It clearly indicates 
that Mono County, with more than 10 times the employment related to tourism than Modoc 
County, is very different from the other two small population counties - Lassen and Modoc. 



Table 3.11.3.2(c): Principal Counties Ranked by Travel/Tourism Economic Impact 
1994 


County 


Employment Related 
to Tourism 


Expenditures ($000) 
Related to Tourism 


Local Taxes ($000) 

Generated by 

Tourism 


San Luis Obispo 


10,671 


$787,240 


$13,230 


Fresno 


10,155 


$750,420 


$12,900 


Kern 


9,894 


$725,710 


$10,570 


Tulare 


5,100 


$375,250 


$4,310 


Mono 


4,333 


$310,500 


$5,750 


San Benito 


948 


$77,470 


$1 ,090 


Lassen 


892 


$63,210 


$760 


Modoc 


367 


$26,440 


$300 


Washoe, NV 


(no data) 


$3,726,000 


n/a 



3.1 1 .3.3 Livestock Operations and Production 

There is a very large difference in the size and relative agricultural importance of the livestock 
industry in the nine counties. The livestock industry in Tulare County, with a livestock 
production value of 223 million dollars in 1 995, has over forty times the value of Mono 
County. But the proportional agricultural importance of the livestock industry is the highest in 
Mono because over 40 percent of total agricultural production is from livestock production. In 
two other counties, Modoc and Lassen, the livestock industry represents over ten percent of 
the value of agriculture in the county. 



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Table 3.1 1 .3.3: County Livestock Industry Proportion of Total Agricultural Production 
Value, 1995. (1) 


County 


Livestock Value 
Proportion 


Livestock 
Production $ 


Total Agricultural 
Production $ 


Mono 


41 .3% 


$5,518,148 


$13,357,268 


Modoc 


17.2% 


$1 1 ,090,000 


$64,252,655 


Lassen 


17.0% 


$8,038,001 


$47,227,000 


Tulare 


8.5% 


$223,207,000 


$2,610,290,000 


San Luis Obispo 


8.1% 


$26,188,000 


$321 ,598,000 


San Benito 


6.1% 


$9,867,000 


$1 60,474,000 


Kern 


4.2% 


$83,607,000 


$1,978,319,000 


Fresno 


3.6% 


$115,665,000 


$3,167,157,000 


Washoe 


46.3% 


$5,798,612 


$18,028,000 



Selected Counties Department of Agriculture, 1995 Agricultural Crop Reports 
(1) Timber not included 

Because of large yearly fluctuations in the price for beef cattle, the value of livestock sales 
and, therefore, the place of livestock sales in the total agricultural economy varies greatly over 
time. As was pointed out earlier, an 800 pound calf might have brought $872 in April of 1991 . 
But that same type calf in September of 1 995 was worth only $41 4, a difference of $457. The 
economic importance of livestock sales for a county is also significantly affected by the 
livestock inventory, the number of animals being raised. From 1 992 to 1 996 in Washoe 
County, the number of cattle and calves rose from 31 to 33,000; but sheep and lambs 
decreased from 6,400 to 5,000. Across the state line in Modoc County, the cattle inventory 
dropped from 53,000 to 45,000 and sheep/lambs dropped from 9,000 to 5,000. 

The Modoc County statistics from 1 992 to 1 995 clearly illustrate the yearly fluctuations and 
economic volatility of the livestock industry. In 1992, total livestock sales for cattle and sheep 
totaled $26,971,000, representing 46.9% of total county agricultural production (1992 Census). 
1995 total livestock production was worth $1 1 ,090,000 and was 17.2 % of total agricultural 
sales in Modoc County. In summary, from 1 992 to 1 995, the livestock operators of Modoc 
County experienced a $1 5,881 ,000 decrease in income, representing a 58.8 percent drop in 
their livestock income. 



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Table 3.11.3.3(a): Farms with Grazing Permits by County, 1992 


County 


BLM Permits 


USFS Permits 


Total Number of 
Farm with Permits 


Modoc 


89 


75 


128 


Kern 


55 


38 


83 


Lassen 


54 


35 


68 


Fresno 


20 


21 


43 


Washoe 


20 


4 


26 


Mono 


16 


17 


26 


Tulare 


13 


19 


35 


S.L Obispo 


12 


17 


47 


San Benito 


12 


1 


15 



Source: 1992 Census of Agriculture 



3.1 1 .3.4 Government Transfer Payments -- PILT, Grazing Fees 

Payments in Lieu of Taxes 

Two Federal Government payments to counties are related to the BLM grazing program. The 
Payment in Lieu of Taxes program compensates the counties because the federal 
government does not pay property taxes. The Taylor Grazing Act distributes a percentage of 
the local grazing fees to the counties. Both payments are based on the geographical 
location of the land. In the EIS study area, it is not uncommon for a grazing permit owner to 
reside in a different county than the location of their grazing allotment. In that case, their fee 
payments will go to the allotment location county and not their county of residence. 



Table 3.11.3.4(a): Payment in Lieu of Taxes, by County, 1996. 


County 


Payment 


Fresno 


$316,955 


Kern 


$727,008(1) 


Lassen 


$179,185 


Modoc 


$185,233 


Mono 


$191,688 



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Table 3.11.3.4(a): Payment in Lieu of Taxes, by County, 1996. 


County 


Payment 


San Benito 


$77,334 


San Luis Obispo 


$357,141 


Tulare 


$746,639 


Washoe 


$1,071,123 


California Total 


$10,981,192 



Source: CA and NV BLM State Offices. (1) Includes the Ridgecrest Resource Area payments 

Tulare and Kern counties receive over three times the PILT payments of Lassen, Modoc and 
Mono counties, reflecting the importance of population size in the payment calculation 
formula. 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing 

The amount received by a county from grazing fees is greatly influenced by which legislative 
formula applies. Kern County's 1996 payment of $22,487 was twice that received by Lassen 
County, even though Lassen has more AUM's, because the share percentages were 50% 
versus 12.5%. 

Washoe County, NV received $21 ,043 in grazing fees revenue sharing for 1 996. Three BLM 
Districts were involved. The contribution of each was: NORCAL EAST $14,314, (the Surprise 
and Eagle Lake Areas combined), Winnemucca $2,649 and Carson City $4,080. Humboldt 
County, NV received $40,186.44 in grazing fee revenue sharing for 1996, but only $104.92 
from the Surprise Resource Area. 



Table 3.11.3.4(b): Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing by County, 1996 CA / 1994 NV 


County 


Payment 


Kern 


$22,487 


Washoe (NV) 


$21 ,043 


San Luis Obispo 


$1 4,895 


Lassen 


$1 1 ,820 


Fresno 


$6,51 1 


Modoc 


$3,666 


Mono 


$2,974 



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Table 3.11.3.4(b): Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing by County, 1996 CA / 1994 NV 


County 


Payment 


San Benito 


$2,900 


Tulare 


$1 ,340 



Source: CA BLM State Office, Range Management Program 1996 data; Harris, Thomas, Federal and State Land-Based Payments 
in Nevada , 1994 data, unpublished report, U. Nevada, Reno, Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, 1996. 



Table 3.11.3.4(c): BLM Authorized Grazing AUM's by County, 1996 


County 


Number of Authorized AUM's 


Kern 


23,114* 


Washoe (NV) 


94394** 


San Luis Obispo 


26,779 


Lassen 


80,217 


Fresno 


13,784 


Modoc 


28,361 


Mono 


33,509 


San Benito 


6,453 


Tulare 


3,306 


* Includes only the AUM's administered by the Caliente Area Ofl 


ice 



3.11.3.5 Permit Value 

As a general rule, a ranch with a federal grazing permit is worth more than a ranch without a 
permit. In theory, the value of the permit at least partially reflects the capitalized difference 
between the grazing fee and the competitive market rate that could be charged for federal 
forage. Research has found that permit values are influenced by a variety of market forces at 
different times and in different places (BLM 1994, p 3-71). The permit value in Modoc County 
has declined about $6 per AUM since the 1980's. Lending institutions include the value of 
the permit in loans and sales. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service considers the value of 
permits when property is transferred. In Modoc County in 1 996, the County Tax Assessor's 
Office valued the permit at $30 per AUM. A study of sales of BLM and Forest Service grazing 
permits in 1991 found a sale price of approximately $30 per AUM (Modoc County Assessor). 
Hypothetically, if a ranch with land and buildings worth one million dollars had a grazing 
permit for 1000 AUM's, the permit would add $30,000 to the value of the ranch ($30 x 1000= 
$30,000). Thus, any change in the permit, such as altering the number of AUM's authorized, 



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or raising the AUM grazing fee, could change the benefit of the privilege to graze on federal 
land and reduce or eliminate the "value" of the permit. The discussion of permit value must 
include an understanding that federal law states that the issuance of grazing permits creates 
no right, title, or interest in federal lands or resources. 

3.11.3.6 California Possessory Interest Tax 

In California, the assessed value of grazing permits is subject to a possessory interest tax. 
Taxable possessory interests are property interests in publicly owned real property. Both 
grazing permits and agricultural leases give rise to taxable possessory interest. 

In Modoc County, taxable possessory interest grazing rights had an assessed value of 
$4,343,41 9 for the 1990 tax roll. This equates to approximately $44,000 in taxes for the 
county. The formula for calculating the assessed value involved four components including a 
sales price of $30.00 per AUM and the 1991 AUM grazing fee of $1 .97. 

3.1 1 .3.7 Farm Real Estate Values 

The value of land has both long and short term significance. It is a source of financial worth 
in the long term, affecting retirement and inheritance; and it is the collateral for loans in the 
short term. 

In 1 995, California rural land prices averaged $2,21 5 per acre, while Nevada prices averaged 
$289 per acre (Economic Research Service, USDA, 1996). Over the past 10 years (1986 - 
1995), this represents a 28 percent increase in land value in California and a 32 percent 
increase in Nevada. An average 2,000 acre ranch would cost $4,430,000 in California 
compared to $578,000 in Nevada. That average Nevada ranch would have increased in value 
over the past ten years by $1 31 ,206. 



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CHAPTER 4: IMPACT ANALYSIS 



4.1 INTRODUCTION Page 3 

4.2 IMPACTS COMMON TO ALL ALTERNATIVES . Page 3 

4.2.1 GRAZING MANAGEMENT Page 3 

4.2.2 UPLANDS , Page 5 

4.2.2.1 Soils Page 5 

4.2.2.2 Vegetation Page 5 

Annual Grasslands Page 5 

Sagebrush Steppe Page 6 

4.2.3 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS Page 7 

4.2.3.1 Overview Page 7 

4.2.3.2 Vegetation Page 8 

4.2.3.3 Riparian Hydrology and Water Quality Page 9 

4.2.4 WILDLIFE Page 10 

4.2.4.1 Wildlife Communities Page 1 

Annual Grassland Habitats Page 1 1 

Sagebrush Steppe Habitats Page 1 1 

Juniper, Pinyon-Juniper Page 1 1 

Wetland/Riparian Habitats Page 12 

4.2.4.2 Big Game Page 12 

Mule deer Page 1 2 

Elk Page 13 

Pronghorn Page 14 

4.2.4.3 Upland Game Page 14 

4.2.4.4 Fisheries Page 1 4 

4.2.5 SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES Page 15 

Special Status Plant Species Page 1 5 

Special Status Animal Species Page 1 6 

4.2.6 WILD HORSES and BURROS Page 16 

4.2.7 RECREATION Page 19 

4.2.8 WILDERNESS Page 19 

4.2.9 CULTURAL RESOURCES Page 20 

Cultural Properties Page 20 

Traditional Lifeway Values Page 20 

4.3 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALTERNATIVES Page 21 

4.3.1 GRAZING MANAGEMENT Page 21 

4.3.1 .1 Alternative 1 , The Proposed Action Page 21 

4.3.1 .2 Alternative 2 - State-wide Consistency/Consolidated 

Standards and Guidelines Page 23 

4.3.1 .3 Alternative 3 - No Action (Fall-Back Standards and 

Guidelines) Page 23 

4.3.1.4 Alternative 4 - Rapid Improvement/Rapid Recovery 

Alternative Page 24 

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4.3.2 UPLANDS Page 26 

4.3.2.1 Soils Page 26 

4.3.3 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS Page 26 

4.3.3.1 Water Quality Page 26 

4.3.4 ECONOMICS Page 28 

4.3.4.1 EIS Study Area Analysis Page 28 

Income and Employment Impacts Page 28 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing Page 29 

Possessory Interest Tax Page 29 

Permit and Real Estate Values: EIS Area Page 30 

Additional Permittee/Lessee Expenses Page 30 

BL*M Range Management Program Cost Impacts Page 31 

4.3.4.2 Principal Grazing Counties Page 32 

Absentee Permittees and Grazing Program Impacts Page 35 

Permit and Real Estate Values: Principal Counties Region . Page 36 

4.3.4.3 Impacts on Individual Livestock Operations Page 36 

4.3.4.4 Economic Impact Analysis Closing Comments Page 37 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



4.1 INTRODUCTION 

Chapter 4 describes effects on the human environment of the proposed action and other 
alternatives described in Chapter 2. 

Environmental consequences can be categorized and presented in many ways. Some are 
the direct effect of implementing an action. Others are more indirect, occurring later or further 
away. Some tend to be short term. Others last longer. Some effects are adverse. Others 
are beneficial. Some are mainly physical or biological. Others are economic or social. This 
chapter discusses environmental consequences in all of these ways. 

We have done an analysis of the Standards in each Alternative, based upon whether the 
standards addressed the fundamentals of rangeland health, as required in the regulations at 
43 CFR 4180.2 (Fed. Reg. 1995). Although there are some differences in the way the 
standards are worded, all of the alternatives except the fallback standards address the 
fundamentals of watershed function, nutrient cycling and energy flow, water quality, and 
habitat for special status species and native plant and animal populations. Some of the 
differences are highlighted in the analysis, while Appendices 14 and 15 specifically address 
the soils and water quality standards. 

We have also done an analysis of the guidelines under the different alternatives. In all cases 
the guidelines contain the necessary tools to enable us to meet the standards of rangeland 
health. In some cases, the guidelines do not specifically address certain topics as directed 
by the regulations, and there may be some concern that this failure to directly address those 
topics would result in failure to meet the standards. These concerns are addressed in some 
of the following analysis, while a table showing this analysis and comparison is in 
Appendix 16. 

Appendix 1 8 is a summary table that shows a side-by-side comparison of the impacts for 
each alternative as identified in this chapter. 



4.2 IMPACTS COMMON TO ALL ALTERNATIVES 

4.2.1 GRAZING MANAGEMENT 

Of the 705 grazing allotments in the EIS area, 1 1 4 or 1 6% are estimated as currently not 
meeting one or more of the fundamentals for rangeland health. The fundamentals are not 
met for soils on 5 allotments, riparian/wetland areas on 84 allotments, water quality on 69 
allotments and wildlife habitat on 71 allotments. Often more than one fundamental is not 
being met on an allotment. Except for riparian areas there is no estimation of the acres not 
meeting the fundamentals or the magnitude of the problem within each allotment. 

Current grazing activities are thought to be one of the causes for not meeting rangeland 
health fundamentals on at least 82 of the allotments, requiring some modification of current 
grazing management. Activities other than grazing are causing the problems on 32 of the 
allotments. 



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Several of the field offices reported that they did not have adequate information to make an 
impact assessment on some of their allotments. As a result, 38 percent of the allotments, 268 
of the total 705 in the EIS study area, are not included in the present grazing and economic 
impact analysis. In many of these cases, these are "C" or custodial allotments that have not 
received sufficient monitoring to produce data on ecological conditions. But other types of 
allotments are also involved and typically do not have up-to-date ecological condition 
assessments as a result of the need to prioritize program efforts due to budget limitations. 
Because most of these allotments are quite small, the percent acreage not included in this 
analysis is much lower than the percentage of allotments. 

Implementation of any of the alternatives would approach meeting the fundamentals of 
rangeland health where the current cause is from grazing related activities. Allotments where 
causes other than grazing are causing the fundamentals to not be met, are outside of the 
scope of this analysis and the Alternatives identified would not specifically correct those 
problems. 

The consequences of implementing the management measures and the rate of 
implementation predicted would basically be the same in Alternatives 1 ,2, and 3. The 
consequences would be different from these in implementing the rapid improvement/rapid 
recovery alternative - Alternative 4, in that both the rate in achieving improvement in rangeland 
health conditions and the implementation of the alternative would cause some different 
consequences. 

In all alternatives there would be a need to implement or install range improvement projects to 
facilitate the enhancement of vegetative conditions either through vegetative treatment 
practices and weed control or to place facilities on the rangelands to support the grazing 
management of livestock. Many of the areas known to be in need of these projects are within 
Wilderness Study Areas or designated Wilderness Areas, predominately within the Great 
Basin ecoregion. The management policies for these areas are restrictive about the type of 
projects that may be placed in these areas as well as the methods for implementing or 
installing the projects. The projects must be compatible with the existing or potential values 
for wilderness. Prior to implementation, each individual project would require a site-specific 
analysis in weighing any projected wilderness enhancement values from the project against 
the magnitude of the predicted impairment of these values that could occur from the project 
itself or influences from the use of the project. Therefore, there is an assumption that the 
opportunities to implement some of the needed range improvement projects within these 
areas would be limited and would affect all alternatives to the same degree. 

There will be reductions and limitations of grazing use on some allotments under all 
alternatives in order to restore soil and vegetative conditions and minimize existing impacts 
from grazing activities. This would result in a decrease of the number of AUMs of grazing 
authorized due to shortening or changing the season of use, establishing grazing utilization 
thresholds, or excluding areas from grazing. 

All of the alternatives include using herding practices, constructing new fences, installing 
additional livestock watering sources, and changing the class of livestock to facilitate 
improved grazing use that will result in meeting rangeland health conditions. 

See Section 4.3.1 for a description of major differences between the alternatives. 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



4.2.2 UPLANDS 
4.2.2.1 Soils 

Implementing the rangeland health standards and guidelines will result in positive impacts to 
upland soils which will improve overall watershed health slowly over a long time frame. 
Grazing management which results in greater plant litter retention will have slow but complex 
results. Surface litter plays a complex role in range soil health. It cycles plant and animal 
nutrients, reduces raindrop impact, traps mobilized sediment, insulates and moderates soil 
temperatures, conserves soil moisture, and builds soil structure. The changes expected to 
occur are: reduced surface crusting, reduced erosion, increased biological activity, increased 
permeability, increased root mass, increased fertility, increased soil cover, and increased soil 
moisture. 

Many Resource Areas have allotments with noxious weeds and invasive weeds which may 
inhibit attainment of soil condition standards. Specifically the standards requiring "a variety of 
root depths, diversity of plant species and representation of the desired plant community" are 
not being met. For example, the Susanville RAC Area has at least three grazing allotments 
that resource managers suspect will not meet the soil condition standards regardless of 
which alternative is implemented. Approximately 20 percent of these allotments contain areas 
which are dominated by Medusahead, an exotic annual grass species which is extremely 
difficult to eradicate. Other Resource Areas have grazing allotments with areas dominated by 
star thistle or larkspur which will not significantly change under any alternative. The long 
recovery times or high treatment costs associated with making significant progress in these 
weedy areas indicate that implementation of any of the alternatives would not significantly 
change this condition. 

See Section 4.3.2.1 for a description of the major differences between the alternatives. 



4.2.2.2 Vegetation 
Annual Grasslands 

No changes are expected in the species composition of annual, herbaceous species, since 
the mulch level guidelines to be adopted under all of the alternatives are basically the same 
as those that are currently employed. There will be a slight expansion of mulch level 
guidelines to include some lower priority, C-category allotments that were previously excluded 
from mulch level requirements, particularly in the Hollister Resource Area. The amount of 
public lands in these allotments, however, is small. This change, therefore, is considered to 
be minimal. 

Where desired plant community objectives specify them, perennial grasses are expected to 
increase under all alternatives. Episodic recruitment of oaks and shrubs (especially allscale in 
the San Joaquin Valley) will be allowed to occur through reduction or removal of grazing and 
browsing pressure on these species during the critical period of establishment. There will 
likely be no change in fire frequency, except where prescribed burns are employed to 
establish perennial grasses, to improve the habitat for special status species, or to manage 
fuel levels. 

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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 

The rate of change is expected to be similar for all alternatives. 

Sagebrush Steppe 

The following changes are expected to occur under all alternatives: 

Increased cover and vigor of perennial grasses, where these now occur or are likely to 
occur based upon the availability of seeds in the seedbank. 

Increased potential to move through successional stages or have a variety of serai 
stages on the landscape. 

* Increased soil cover of both live vegetation and litter. 

More uniform distribution of litter and incorporation of litter into the soil profile. 

* Better root distribution throughout the available soil profile. 

* Increased species diversity 

* Increased photosynthetic period. 

* Increased vegetation structure. 

Increased frequency of wildfires due to higher accumulation of live vegetation and 
litter. 

Decreased rates of juniper expansion due to mortality of young trees from increases in 
fire frequency. 

* Increased diversity of age classes of aspen. 

Where desired plant community objectives include a shrub component, shrubs will be 
maintained or increased, and their vigor improved. 

Where desired plant community objectives do not include a shrub component, shrubs 
may decrease because of increased competition from perennial grasses and forbs. 

Episodic recruitment of shrubs, trees, and perennial herbs will be allowed to occur by 
reducing or removing grazing and browsing pressure during the critical period of 
establishment. 

These changes are expected to be fastest under Alternative 4. They are expected to be the 
slowest under Alternative 3 because of the lack of utilization guidelines for perennial key 
species under that alternative. Under Alternatives 1 and 2, changes will likely be faster for the 
area covered by the Bakersfield and Ukiah RACs because of the more conservative utilization 
guidelines adopted by those RACs over that of the Susanville RAC. Although Resource Areas 
covered by the Susanville RAC would develop site-specific utilization guidelines, this would 
take time to accomplish and therefore slow down the pace of the changes indicated above. 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



The Susanville RAC has adopted interim utilization guidelines, but these are basically the 
same as in existing land use plans, and are not as conservative as those adopted by the 
Bakersfield and Ukiah RACs. Therefore, these interim guidelines are not expected to result in 
any changes in the short term. 



4.2.3 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS 

4.2.3.1 Overview 

In the Wetland/Aquatic section of Chapter 3 we discussed using the BLM's Functioning 
Condition Assessment process to judge the "health" of standing-water (Lentic) acres and 
flowing-water (Lotic) miles, and noted the fact that the process can also be used to estimate 
change in health status. Therefore, we used the Functioning Condition Assessment process 
to compare the current "health" status with the estimated status under management by 
alternatives. This was done via a Professional Judgement Assessment (PJA), where resource 
professionals were asked to use their own personal experience, skill, perspective, and 
familiarity with various wetland/riparian areas and streams to estimate future functioning 
condition ("health") status under the different alternatives. Table 4.2.3 shows the difference 
between current standing-water (lentic) acres "health" status and management under the 
different alternatives and Table 4.2.3(a) does the same for flowing-water (lotic) miles. 



TABLE 4.2.3: 


Lentic Habitat 


Functioning Status (%) Acres 






Status 


Current 


Alt. 1 


Alt. 2 


Alt. 3 


Alt. 4 


Proper 
Functioning 


27% 


83% 


83% 


83% 


83% 


At Risk 


71 % 


16% 


16% 


16% 


16% 


Non-Funct. 


2% 


1 % 


1 % 


1 % 


1 % 



Both tables illustrate a major difference between current "health" status and estimated future 
"health" status under management by alternatives, however, they indicate that there is no 
difference in future "health" status between alternatives. Under current management 27% of 
Lentic areas are in Proper Functioning Condition (PFC). It is estimated that management 
under any of the alternatives would increase the amount of Lentic areas in PFC to 83%. The 
Lotic habitats in PFC would increase from 28% to 62%. However, the time-frame for moving 
functioning-at-risk wetland/aquatic habitats into proper functioning condition would be shorter 
under Alternative 4 as Alternative 4 requires choosing the action that will improve the 
functioning condition as fast as possible, rather than a gradual approach. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



TABLE 4.2.3(a): Lotic Habitat Functioning Status (%) Miles 


Status 


Current 


Alt. 1 


Alt. 2 


Alt. 3 


Alt. 4 


Proper 
Functioning 


28% 


62% 


62% 


62% 


62% 


At Risk 


69% 


36% 


36% 


36% 


36% 


Non-Funct. 


3% 


2% 


2% 


2% 


2% 



Approximately 99.6% of the indicated change of At-Risk Lentic areas and 70% of the At-Risk 
Lotic areas moving to Proper Functioning status is the result of PJA data provided by 
Surprise Resource Area. This can be explained by the fact that Surprise Resource Area 
manages approximately 1 0,000 acres more of standing-water wetlands and approximately 600 
miles more of flowing-water riparian than all the other nine resource areas combined. Also, 
the Surprise Resource area has a much higher percentage of the wetlands they manage 
currently in Functional-at-Risk status. 

4.2.3.2 Vegetation 

The following changes are expected to occur under all alternatives: 

Increased shrub and tree layers, where the potential for these species exists. 

* improved age-class distributions of trees and shrubs. 

* Increased cover and vigor of herbaceous perennial species. 

* Increased streambank cover. 

* Movement toward later serai stages. 

* Increased diversity of plants and animals. 

* Increased width of riparian zone. 

Decrease of nonriparian species (such as sagebrush and rabbitbrush) in the riparian 
zone, as the water table rises. 

The above changes are expected to occur fastest under Alternative 4 and under Alternatives 
1 and 2 for the area covered by the Bakersfield RAC. This is because of the conservative 
minimum stubble heights and utilization guidelines adopted for the entire project area under 
Alternative 4 and for the Bakersfield RAC under Alternatives 1 and 2. 

The area covered by the Susanville RAC under Alternatives 1 and 2 will likely experience 
these changes faster than the Ukiah RAC under the same alternatives, because the Susanville 
RAC has adopted interim utilization guidelines that would take place immediately upon 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines E1S Chapter 4 



approval of the standards and guidelines, while the Ukiah RAC had directed that utilization 
levels be set on a site-specific basis. 

Alternative 3 would result in the slowest rate of change, because all riparian utilization 
guidelines would be developed on a site-specific basis, a process that will take more time to 
implement. 

The above changes would apply to most areas. However, areas that are severely degraded 
or non-functional would not be changed without major work, or they would take a much 
longer time to recover. There are some non-functional areas that may no longer have the 
potential for recovery. 

4.2.3.3 Riparian Hydrology and Water Quality 

Under all alternatives, we would see a general enhancement and improvement in riparian and 
wetland conditions. This improvement would be reflected in hydrologic function and water 
quality. As uplands and riparian areas improve, peak runoff would be reduced and increased 
riparian vegetation would protect and stabilize streambanks. Stream channels in many 
locations would narrow, and peak flows would be spread across the floodplain, thus 
increasing groundwater recharge. This increased groundwater recharge would increase the 
amount of streamflow throughout the year in perennial streams, and increase the duration of 
streamflows in intermittent streams. Also as peak flows spread across the floodplains, 
sediment would be deposited, enriching soils and building streambanks. 

We would also see improvements in water temperatures (lower in summer and higher in 
winter) and dissolved oxygen levels due to improvements in stream channel morphology and 
increased growth of over-hanging vegetation that would shade the water. Increases in 
vegetation would also filter out more fecal material, thus reducing the nutrients and 
pathogens in the water. These improvement would occur a bit faster under Alternative 4. 

Following Secretarial approval of the rangeland health standards, and the State of California's 
approval of the water quality plan with its Best Management Practices (see Appendix 10), 
BLM will manage livestock under both sets of guidelines to meet California's requirements for 
water quality for beneficial uses. BLM will do the same thing, using the rangeland health 
standards and the Best Management Practices in Nevada's plan, to manage livestock grazing 
to meet Nevada's water quality requirements. 

An assumption is made for this analysis, that numerical drinking water objectives would not 
normally apply to water bodies influenced by livestock grazing activities. The only exceptions 
would be where the water would be directly used for drinking water without treatment or 
where it may be determined that treatment for potability requirements is infeasible due to the 
influence of livestock use. 

There are some slight differences between alternatives. These are primarily in wording and 
specificity of direction, and are explained in Section 4.3.3. 



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Chapter 4 ^ Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



4.2.4 WILDLIFE 

4.2.4.1 Wildlife Communities 

Implementation of the Standards for Rangeland Health would promote the ecological 
processes necessary to maintain and/or improve wildlife habitats in BLM grazing allotments. 
The standards have been developed as indicators of healthy rangelands, and as such, would 
promote the long-term quality of the living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components'of 
wildlife habitats: food, cover, water, and space. Maintaining the processes of soil and plant 
community development would provide the mechanisms necessary for rangeland 
communities (and thus wildlife habitats) to exhibit resistance and resilience to extreme events 
such as drought, fire, or rainstorms (NRC 1994). However, the benefit or harm to a particular 
wildlife species, or group of species, would depend upon the current habitat condition, trend, 
and management objective(s) at the pasture or allotment level where the standards would be 
applied. 

In general, the implementation of the standards would be expected to improve or maintain a 
wide variety of wildlife habitats on the BLM lands by an increase in vegetative ground cover, 
the diversity of plant species and the variety of vegetative layers (grass, shrubs, young trees, 
mature trees). Where the potential exists, plant communities would trend to later serai stages 
that would include more grass and herbaceous cover, greater diversity of native plants, and 
an increased structure of shrubs and trees. However, as described in the vegetation section, 
many acres of upland perennial rangelands would not change in the composition or structure 
of native plant species in the short or long term since these species have been eliminated 
and seed sources are not available in the soils. The greatest changes are expected to occur 
in the wetland/riparian habitats where potential for vegetation change still exists. This would 
be an important improvement of wildlife habitat on BLM lands since these habitats represent 
the most productive habitats on the western rangelands (Thomas et al. 1980). 

Habitat improvement would be the result of designing livestock management practices to 
meet the standard's indicators (e.g., ground cover, litter, variety of age classes, plant 
reproduction, streambank protection, water quality, etc.). This would also result in a wide 
variety of wildlife habitat elements necessary for diverse animal assemblages that occur when 
habitats provide a diversity of plant and animal foods, hiding, escape, nesting, and thermal 
cover, and more available water. Using migratory birds as an example, as the structure of the 
vegetation becomes more complex, opportunities for nest sites and food resources increase, 
allowing additional birds to inhabit the area (Douglas et al. 1992). 

Based on the CWHR habitat models, wildlife habitat suitability would improve for many 
species of wildlife, while the same vegetation changes would reduce the habitat value for 
many others. In general, species that tend to be "generalists" in food and habitat selection 
are more abundant in open habitats and may find the increased vegetation cover less 
suitable. In contrast, species that are more sensitive to habitat structure, that also tend to be 
less abundant and of management concern, are benefitted by increased vegetative cover and 
the addition of shrub and tree layers. This is especially true for many neotropical migrant 
birds that readily respond to increased diversity and complexity of riparian and woodland 
vegetation. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



Annual Grassland Habitats 

The implementation of the standards and guidelines would maintain a minimum level of 
residual dry matter (RDM) on the ground at all times of the year in both the long and short 
term periods. An emphasis on RDM would increase ground cover for nesting birds and small 
mammals. This would be beneficial for some species (e.g., meadow larks, lark sparrow, 
grasshopper sparrow, California vole, mule deer ) but detrimental for others (eg. western 
spadefoot, mountain plover, horned lark, American robin, Heermann's kangaroo rat, giant 
kangaroo rat, side blotched lizard, coachwhip snake). For many other species, the density of 
grass cover will have little discernable affect (CWHR 5.2 1996). 

More noticeable effects to wildlife communities would be seen in the alkali shrub and oak 
woodlands where changes in shrub and tree cover and structure would determine which 
wildlife species would be present. Where allotment objectives include a shrub or woodland 
component, grazing management practices would be implemented to maintain or increase the 
amount of shrub/tree cover of native saltbush or oak species on appropriate sites. This 
would maintain or improve the structural diversity for animals requiring shrubs and trees for 
nesting, escape and thermal cover. 

Sagebrush Steppe Habitats 

The proposed standards and guidelines would increase the vegetation structure and species 
diversity of the sagebrush steppe communities through the increases in cover and vigor of 
the perennial grass and herbaceous plant species. This would improve the quality of habitats 
for those species that respond to greater cover of plants and litter for feeding and 
concealment (e.g., western meadowlark, savannah sparrow, vesper sparrow, montane vole, 
Belding's ground squirrel, sagebrush lizard; Zeiner et al. 1990). Where shrub species are 
included as allotment objectives, the improvement and maintenance of sagebrush, 
bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, greasewood, mountain mahogany, service-berry, snowberry and 
other important cover and forage species would occur. These are important habitat elements 
for many wildlife species such as mule deer, pronghorn, pygmy rabbit, white-tailed hare, sage 
grouse, Brewer's sparrow, sage sparrow, green-tailed towhee, and gray flycatcher (Zeiner et 
al. 1990). 

The increase in the likelihood of wildfires from increased herbaceous cover would promote a 
mosaic of shrub and grassland habitats that would support a wide diversity of wildlife in the 
sagebrush communities. Since the pattern across the landscape would include an 
assortment of vegetation types and serai stages with more edges between habitats, the 
richness of wildlife species would increase over the long term (Thomas et al. 1979). 

Juniper, Pinyon-Juniper 

The implementation of the standards and guidelines are expected to increase the amount of 
plant cover and litter that may influence fire fuels. As such, the amount of pinyon-juniper and 
juniper habitats is expected to be altered by the increase in the frequency, intensity and size 
of wildfires than may result from increased vegetation cover. The post fire communities would 
be beneficial for some species like mule deer (Stager and Klebenow 1986) and pronghorn in 
the short and long term as shrubs and forbs become more abundant. The loss of Pinyon 
trees would reduce seed crops for Pinyon jay, Clark's nutcracker, Steller's jay, scrub jay, and 

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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



black-billed magpie, while Townsend's solitaire, American robin, and Western bluebirds that 
depend on juniper "berries" during the winter months may also be affected. In addition, the 
number of bird species breeding in these woodlands that are influenced by Pinyon pine 
density, tree density, and foliage volume would be reduced within burned areas. However, 
the overall landscape across BLM lands is not expected to be altered to an extent that would 
place these wildlife species or communities at risk. 

Wetland/Riparian Habitats 

The proposed standards and indicators will promote the maintenance of the process and 
functions necessary to improve and maintain healthy riparian habitats. Rosgen (1993) stated 
that from his measurements, over half of the total sediment produced in large watersheds is 
being contributed by accelerated bank erosion processes. He noted that streambank erosion 
rates can be reduced by several orders of magnitude if riparian vegetation is maintained. 
Rooting depth and density becomes a major key in streambank stability. Grazing strategies 
that change the density and composition of species with good rooting characteristics have an 
exponential impact on bank erosion. It has been demonstrated that good grazing practices 
can actually improve the stream and riparian condition and that grazing management 
strategies have to be adjusted based on the sensitivity of the various streams in a watershed 
(Rosgen 1993). 

Waterfowl and shorebirds residing in wetland habitats would benefit from improved wetlands 
meeting proper functioning condition objectives. The riparian and wetland habitats meeting 
these objectives would receive less sediment which would encourage aquatic 
macroinvertebrate production and plant growth. This would result in more food for these 
birds and better shoreline and emergent vegetation cover for nesting, brood rearing, 
migration, and feeding activities. Since these habitats are quick to respond to changes in 
grazing management, the improvements are expected in both the short term and long term 
periods. 



4.2.4.2 Big Game 

The implementation of the standards and guidelines would promote the ecological functions 
and processes that favor healthy and sustainable big game habitats. Where the standards 
are not being met, livestock grazing management would consider how the timing and 
intensity of grazing use could be changed to maintain a specific plant community or desired 
successional changes. The use of grazing to manipulate habitat for big game represents an 
effective and ecologically sound management tool (Schmidt and Gilbert 1978). 

Mule deer 

It has been recognized for several decades that livestock grazing has played an important 
role in the creation and maintenance of shrub communities that support mule deer in the 
western states (Schmidt and Gilbert 1978, Walmo 1981). Longhurst (1981) stated that the 
cumulative impact of long-term livestock use is likely the paramount influence which has 
produced and maintained serai vegetation for deer. This is especially true in the Great Basin 
where sagebrush and other successional shrub species predominate areas that were more 
interspersed with perennial grasses under pristine conditions. Recent invasions of cheatgrass 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



(Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) have altered both the 
forage composition, but also the influence of fire in these communities by providing a fine fuel 
cover that increases fire frequency and intensity, and eliminates shrubs and other herbaceous 
plants. Livestock grazing may be an important tool to manage these fine fuels through 
prescribed grazing that would be implemented through the standards and guidelines. Where 
objectives include maintaining the shrub component of vegetation, the maintenance of diverse 
shrub and forb species in the plant communities under the proposed standards would help 
improve and maintain forage quality on mule deer ranges. 

In many of the pinyon-juniper habitats in eastern California, there has been an increase in the 
density of these tree species with a decrease in the shrub and grass/forb vegetation layers. 
While the increase in the tree species is an improvement in mule deer cover (Longhurst et al. 
1981), a closed pinyon-juniper stand with a sterile understory is a loss of palatable mule deer 
forage and is considered degraded mule deer habitat. Livestock grazing may accelerate this 
increase in pinyon and juniper but can be also be used as a management tool, along with fire 
management, to reduce the cover and reproduction of these tree species and maintain the 
shrub serai stages (Schmidt and Gilbert 1978). Implementation of the rangeland health 
standards would improve mule deer habitat where herbaceous and shrub species replace 
dense pinyon-juniper stands due to changes in grazing and fire management. 

On California's annual ranges, the composition of introduced annual vegetation has increased 
carrying capacity for mule deer; and continued livestock grazing at moderate intensity is 
necessary to maintain high carrying capacity for deer (Longhurst 1981). The standards and 
guidelines for the annual ranges promote both the composition of these annual species and 
the maintenance and diversity of native vegetation (especially oak species) that will benefit 
mule deer. 

The proposed standards and guidelines would place an emphasis on the function and 
condition of riparian habitats. This would be of benefit to mule deer populations that depend 
on these riparian habitats for forage, cover and fawning habitat (Longhurst 1981). Livestock 
grazing practices would be designed and implemented to meet the standards for proper 
functioning condition and diverse composition and structure of riparian habitats. This would 
promote a more complex riparian community that would benefit mule deer habitat quality. 

The interaction of livestock grazing, fire, and mule deer use on plant community production, 
composition, succession, and ecological processes would be key discussion points in 
developing management objectives on grazed allotments. Mule deer habitats are expected to 
be maintained or improved as a result of such discussions. 

Elk 

The proposed standards and guidelines would improve or maintain elk habitats on BLM 
upland and riparian habitats. The increase in plant cover and native plant diversity would 
favor later serai stages and grass production that are important for elk. Livestock grazing 
practices that increase and maintain the grass component of rangelands would favor elk 
habitat over mule deer (Schmidt and Gilbert 1978). The maintenance of residual dry matter 
on annual ranges would also favor taller grass species over forbs, and this would also be 
beneficial to elk. However, since elk populations are not limited by forage availability or 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



current habitat conditions, populations would meet management objectives and continue to 
be regulated by Department of Fish and Game management strategies. 

Pronghorn 

The implementation of the standards and guidelines would benefit pronghorn populations on 
BLM lands by promoting ecological functions and processes that create and maintain diverse 
plant communities. Pronghorn thrive best on ranges with a diversity of grass-forb-shrub 
habitat types, but are widely adaptable to different forage conditions (Clary and Holmgren 
1981). The most favorable pronghorn habitats are characterized as those with 50% living 
vegetation, a mix of grass, forbs and shrubs, a variety of grass, forb and shrub species, 
succulent forbs, ranges with a variety of vegetative communities, and relatively low vegetative 
height (Schmidt and Gilbert 1978). Many of these attributes are considered in the standards 
(and indicators) and are expected to be promoted in the implementation and evaluation of 
grazing management. Little change would be expected on the upland habitat sites in the 
short term, but an improvement of vegetation composition and structure for pronghorn would 
occur over the long term as plant communities become more diverse with native plant 
species. A more rapid improvement of riparian habitats used by pronghorn (grass meadows) 
is expected. The improvement of these habitats would be considered as high priorities in the 
application of the standards and guidelines to meet management objectives. 

In some areas, it has been concluded that livestock-pronghorn interactions affect pronghorn 
habitat use during the winter season (Clary and Holmgren 1981) or fawning season (McNay 
and O'Gara 1981). In such cases where the standards are not being met to support native 
species, grazing management practices could be altered within the guidelines to meet 
management objectives that would improve pronghorn reproduction. 



4.2.4.3 Upland Game 

The most noticeable changes to upland game habitats would be in the improvement of 
riparian habitats that provide important food, cover and water for these bird and mammal 
species. While changes are not expected in the short term in the upland vegetation types, 
rapid improvement of riparian habitats is expected where grazing management is altered to 
meet rangeland health objectives. In the long term, the upland habitats are expected to 
improve to a minor degree as vegetation cover and diversity increases. The increase in 
wildfire activity in the upland plant communities will help promote this diversity. 



4.2.4.4 Fisheries 

The number of miles of streams and acres of wetlands meeting proper functioning condition 
criteria would increase with the implementation of the standards and guidelines, thus 
improving aquatic habitats. The amount of sediment would be reduced, streambank structure 
would be improved to provide overhanging vegetation and banks, and stream shading would 
increase. In many cases, the stream channel would narrow and deepen, pool development 
would accelerate and streambanks would stabilize. Increased vegetation cover and structure 
would reduce summer stream and inter-gravel water temperatures which would increase 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



dissolved oxygen levels, thus increasing stream biological activity (Platts 1990). The biomass 
of fish would increase as aquatic habitat conditions improve. 

Platts (1 990) reviewed a broad variety of livestock grazing practices and how successful they 
can be in meeting wildlife and fisheries habitat objectives. He states that "consideration of 
streamside zones in the development of grazing strategies provides the best opportunity for 
the development of compatible grazing strategies". Many of his criteria for success are 
included in the proposed riparian standards and indicators. Thus, the proposed standards 
and guidelines provide an opportunity to develop appropriate grazing practices to meet 
proper functioning condition and improved riparian habitat conditions, where needed, to meet 
fisheries habitat objectives. 

4.2.5 SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES 

Special Status Plant Species 

Twenty-five of the 1 49 special status plants known to occur within the project area are 
negatively impacted by current grazing management practices (Appendix 11), although for 
several of these species the impacts occur only in a small portion of their ranges. The 
following species would be expected to respond positively to changes in grazing 
management under all four alternatives: 

Rawhide Hill onion [Allium tuolumnense) 

Geyer's milk-vetch {Astragalus geyeri var. geyeri) 

Long Valley milk-vetch [Astragalus johannis-howellii) 

Tonopah milk-vetch [Astragalus pseudiodanthus) 

Inyo mariposa [Calochortus excavatus) 

Alkali mariposa lily [Calochortus striatus) 

Shirley Meadows star-tulip [Calochortus westonii) 

San Benito evening-primrose [Camissonia benitensis) 

Red Hills soaproot [Chlorogalum grandiflorum) 

Mariposa clarkia [Clarkia biloba ssp. australis) 

Crosby's buckwheat [Eriogonum crosbyae) 

Temblor buckwheat [Eriogonum temblorense) 

Boggs Lake hedge-hyssop [Gratiola heterosepala) 

Sierra Valley ivesia [Ivesia aperta va. aperta) 

Alkali ivesia [Ivesia kingii var. kingii) 

San Joaquin woolly threads [Lembertia congdonii) 

Panoche pepper-grass [Lepidium jaredii ssp. album) 

Sagebrush loeflingia [Loeflingia squarrosa var. artemisiarum) 

Congdon's lomatium [Lomatium congdonii) 

Mono Lake lupine [Lupinus duranii) 

Kelso Creek monkeyflower [Mimulus shevockii) 

Scott Valley phacelia [Phacelia greenei) 

Mono County phacelia [Phacelia monoensis) 

Nine Mile Canyon phacelia [Phacelia novenmillensis) 

Sequoia gooseberry [Ribes tularense) 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



These positive changes would likely be realized faster under Alternative 4 than under the 
other three alternatives. 

Eight special status plant species that are in grazing allotments may be negatively impacted 
by current grazing management practices, but not enough is presently known about grazing 
effects upon these species to make this determination. These species are: 

Walker Pass milk-vetch (Astragalus ertterae) 

Beaked clarka (Clarkia rostrata) 

Piute cypress {Cupressus arizonica ssp. nevadensis) 

Recurved larkspur (Delphinium recurvatum) 

Pale-yellow layia (Layia heterotricha) 

Munz's tidy-tips (Layia munzii) 

Piute Mountains navarretia (Navarretia setiloba) 

Ahart's paronychia (Paronychia ahartii) 

Information to help determine how grazing affects these species will be collected through 
inventory and monitoring efforts under all four alternatives. However, this would be expected 
to be accomplished faster under Alternative 4. If this information indicates that livestock 
grazing is negatively impacting any of these plants, the management changes that followed 
this determination would be expected to positively affect these species. 

Special Status Animal Species 

The affects of livestock grazing are quite variable among the listed species. Appendix 1 2 
identifies the state and federally listed species on BLM lands in California and indicates 
whether livestock grazing is considered a compatible management practice. 

The proposed standards and guidelines would promote the ecological function and 
processes necessary to maintain and improve listed species habitats on BLM lands. Since 
listed species would be considered in meeting rangeland health standards, livestock grazing 
practices would be designed to promote the conservation and recovery of these species. 
Where existing livestock grazing is not compatible with listed species conservation, the 
guidelines include appropriate actions to avoid impacts or design compatible grazing 
prescriptions (seasonal restrictions, adjusted stocking rates, utilization levels, or exclusion). 
Where such circumstances exist, site-specific measures would be developed to meet 
conservation goals and those that require specific grazing practices would be included as 
terms and conditions in the grazing permits. 



4.2.6 WILD HORSES and BURROS 

The following assumptions, taken from the Rangeland Reform '94 EIS (BLM, 1994), were also 
used in the impact analysis for this EIS. 

• Standards and guidelines for managing domestic livestock grazing do not apply 

directly to managing wild horses and burros. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



• Appropriate management levels (AMLs) would be established or changed mainly as a 
result of site-specific monitoring when dealing with a site-specific issue. For the 
analysis in the EIS, AMLs would remain constant throughout all alternatives. 

• The issue of wild horse and burro overgrazing is not within the scope of this EIS. 

• Wild horse and burro populations would be at appropriate management levels within 
the short term under all alternatives. 

impacts to Wild Horses and Burros 

Generally, where livestock grazing is the causative factor for failing to conform with the 
standards, implementation of the guidelines for livestock grazing will promote progress 
towards achieving or maintaining healthy soils, functioning riparian areas, proper stream 
morphology, healthy, productive and diverse native species and clean water. And, as stated 
in the Rangeland Reform '94 EIS, improved upland and riparian vegetation would result in 
improved habitat conditions for wild horses and burros where livestock competition has been 
reduced (BLM 1994). 

Impacts to wild horses and burros from implementing the standards and guidelines fall into 
four categories: 

(1 ) General positive impacts to wild horse and burro populations resulting from improved 
rangeland health (as mentioned above); 

(2) Increased potential for gather and removal disturbance of wild horse and burro 
populations as a result of (1), above; 

(3) Localized potential negative and positive impacts to populations of wild horses and 
burros resulting from some livestock management actions made by BLM to reach 
conformance with rangeland health standards; and, 

(4) Increased potential for gather and removal disturbance of wild horse and burro 
populations, if the gather and removal is determined to be an "appropriate action" if 
and when it is found that wild horse and burro use is a significant factor preventing 
conformance with a standard(s) for rangeland health. 

Improved rangeland health would positively impact wild horses and burros by providing them 
with higher quality habitat. This is in turn would result in slight improvements in conception, 
carrying through term, foal survival and longevity. Therefore, we would expect increases in 
natality, recruitment, and survival, and decreases in mortality. 

Wild horse and burro populations would grow more rapidly and, assuming that the AML 
remains unchanged, be disturbed more frequently by the gather and removal operations 
needed to maintain the Appropriate Management Level (AML). It is also possible that, over 
the long term, improved rangeland health would provide a higher level of sustained and 
reliable forage production, that would result in a determination to increase the Appropriate 
Management Level for a particular Herd Management Area. 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Livestock management actions taken to improve rangeland health would potentially have both 
positive and negative localized impacts to populations of wild horses and burros. Negative 
impacts on their free-roaming nature could result if it is determined, for example, that "the 
appropriate action" is to construct fence(s) to allow for improved livestock management in 
riparian or upland areas. Such potential impacts should be recognized in the site-specific 
environmental analysis conducted for such projects and be avoided or mitigated. 

Localized positive impacts to wild horses and burros could result from water developments 
constructed in wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas to allow livestock to graze 
areas now unused or infrequently used by them, if this is determined to be, or be a part of, 
"the appropriate action." Where these water developments are located in Herd Management 
Areas, it is expected that wild horses and burros also will use them. 

Cattle and wild horses have significant dietary overlap during all seasons of the year, 
especially in dry years and during the season when vegetation is dormant (Nat. Acad. Sci. 
1980). Some studies, however, have noted very little contemporaneous spacial overlap 
between horses and cattle (Nat. Acad. Sci. 1980). Yet, BLM field personnel have noted that 
horses graze in areas both before and after livestock have used the area. For this reason, it 
is very difficult to quantify and separate impacts of wild horses from those of cattle without 
concerted, focused study. 

However, we do know that there are allotments where use by wild horses and burros is a 
significant factor contributing to rangelands not conforming with a standard. Depending upon 
the "total picture" of uses and reasons the land is not conforming with the standard, localized 
gathers may be initiated where rangeland health standards are not being met and wild horse 
and/or burro use is the causative factor. 

Presently there are no "guidelines for wild horse and burro grazing" although this use, as well 
as other public land uses, does and will continue to affect the attainment of the standards for 
rangeland health. 

Should wild horse and burro grazing be found to be a causative factor for failing to meet one 
or more rangeland health standards, the manipulation of wild horse and burro distribution, 
period or season-of-use within a Herd Management Area currently is not, and is not expected 
to become, a tool available to the rangeland manager to ensure attainment of the standard. 
Controlling populations has been and will continue to be the only tool available. 

This becomes pertinent, in cases where a guideline requires livestock to be moved from a 
riparian area following early spring use to allow for riparian regrowth during the late spring 
and summer. In some cases, wild horses and burros will either remain or move into the area 
and graze it heavily, which could lead to a failure to attain the standard. Should this result in 
the removal of the wild horses and burros? A similar example is where livestock use is 
restricted to dormant season use in salt-desert half-shrub ranges, which decline in condition 
when the vegetation is not dormant or from heavy use at any time of year (Blaisdell and 
Holmgren 1984). Wild horses and burros cannot be similarly seasonally restricted and may 
contribute to condition decline in these ranges. Should they then be removed? Scientists 
recognize this conundrum. In a subsection of Chapter 3 of Wild and Free Roaming Horses 
and Burros: Current Knowledge and Recommended Research entitled "Range-Plant- 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



Community Impacts," which discusses the responses of plant communities to grazing use, it 
is stated : 

The implications of these studies for the management of wild horse ranges are clear. 
If maintenance of a stable range condition is a desired management objective, control 
of grazing season may be equally as important as control of animal numbers. This 
type of control may prove particularly difficult in some areas where options are limited 
[in the manager's legal authority] to regulating movement patterns and distribution of 
animals over the range" (Nat. Acad. Sci. 1980). 

These types of questions are not covered by the grazing regulations, but create very real 
concerns about our ability to successfully implement rangeland health standards and 
guidelines in some areas. 



4.2.7 RECREATION 

Recreational use of the public lands will continue to grow, with or without implementing 
rangeland health standards, due to the increased population pressures within the State, and 
the marketing of California as a vacation destination. 

Implementation of the rangeland health standards and guidelines would have some positive 
affects upon recreational use of the public lands due to the improved ecological function of 
those lands, and therefore, the increased recreational opportunities, and the improved 
aesthetic value of the landscape. These positive affects would be realized under all 
alternatives, but would likely occur a bit faster under alternative 4 due to the faster 
implementation schedule. There would not be a noticeable difference in the rate of increase 
of recreational use under the different alternatives. 

Recreational activities will continue to contribute to environmental degradation; and this would 
increase in some areas due to increased use. Specific examples are OHV use (including 
access by hunters and fishermen, not just motorcycles, etc.), and trampling of riparian 
vegetation by campers and fishermen. Application of the standards of rangeland health, and 
a set of guidelines, to recreational use would help prevent some of the impacts caused by 
recreation. 



4.2.8 WILDERNESS 

Implementation of the Rangeland Health Standards and Guidelines would have both positive 
and negative affects on wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). The benefits of the 
standards to the wilderness program will slightly outweigh the negative aspects. 

The most substantial benefit would be the improvement of a healthy and naturally functioning 
ecosystem. Maintaining or improving wildlife habitats through the reduction of livestock 
and/or through a management system which reduces livestock impacts would allow the area 
to appear or actually be more natural. Implementation of standards and guidelines would 
also reduce potential long term management conflicts between both the livestock program 
and the wilderness management program. 

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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



The negative aspects to the wilderness program from implementing the Standards and 
Guidelines would come from the increasing human manipulation of natural systems to resolve 
past livestock impacts. For example, building additional livestock developments such as 
water structures and fences increases the number of man-made facilities in the wilderness or 
WSA. These developments would require the occasional use of motorized or mechanized 
equipment for maintenance. Both the developments and use of equipment reduce the 
naturalness of the area and the opportunities for solitude away from human intrusions. 
Vegetative treatments (e.g., seeding, prescribed fires, ripping) to restore natural vegetation 
would create temporary visual impacts to the wilderness experience. 

The difference in the degree of impact between the alternatives is minor. Even though 
Alternative Four projects more range developments, the numbers of livestock and the number 
of acres grazed are reduced. The addition of more developments and the associated long 
term maintenance needs may create a slightly greater impact to the wilderness or WSAs than 
the other alternatives, but the improvement of the wilderness ecosystem would be more rapid. 



4.2.9 CULTURAL RESOURCES 

Overall, implementation of the proposed standards or any of the alternatives would have little 
direct affect upon cultural resources. 

Cultural Properties 

Reducing cattle numbers and restricting them from riparian and wetland areas (which have 
the highest cultural site densities) would help protect some sites from damage through 
trampling or continued erosion. Alternatively, development of more range improvement 
projects, and fences with the usual development of trails along those fences, would 
undoubtedly damage some sites - although this loss would be lessened or mitigated through 
the Section 1 06 process by locating fences and other developments away from sites, and 
recording the sites and determining National Register eligibility before any projects are 
constructed. 

As long as there is continued access to the public lands, cultural properties will be vandalized 
and stolen; there will be damage caused by livestock, vehicles, and equipment; and there will 
be loss of site integrity due to alterations of the site setting and surrounding environment. 
Again, the severity of effects is related to the intensity of activities. These effects can be 
caused by grazing activities, but are also caused by recreational activities and other uses of 
the public lands. 

Traditional Lifeway Values 

Native Americans 

Most traditional Native American uses of the public lands would not be affected by 
implementation of the standards and guidelines. However, implementation will result in 
improvements to upland, riparian, and wetland resources over the long term. If management 
goals for the vegetative resources are developed in consultation with Native American groups, 
as outlined in BLM Manual 81 61 , then there would be some positive benefits through 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



enhancement or encouraged growth of plants traditionally collected for subsistence, medicinal 
purposes, or crafts. 

Ranching Communities 

To most ranchers, there will be no impacts to their traditional ranching lifeway through 
implementation of the grazing standards. In some of the small ranching communities, as 
explained in the following economic analysis sections, there would be some short term 
adverse economic impacts to some ranching operations where changes would be made in 
grazing management to allow the allotments to meet the new standards. In the case of 
economically marginal operations, this would mean that a rancher might go out of business 
and give up his traditional lifestyle; or he might join the increasing number of those who have 
non-ranching jobs to provide a stable income, and ranch part-time, thus continuing his 
traditional lifestyle to some extent. Whether a person chooses one or the other alternative is 
dependent upon the availability of jobs in the area, the individual's knowledge and skills, and 
individual inclination. 

Over the long term, improved rangeland health would give greater economic stability to many 
ranchers, thus enabling them to continue their traditional lifeways. As an example, riparian 
areas must be healthy and properly functioning to produce water for livestock, domestic use, 
or fish habitat, and to produce forage for livestock or wildlife. If an area is not healthy, it will 
not fully support anyone's desired uses or management objectives. However, as areas 
become more healthy, they can support more uses, and provide greater benefits for the long 
term. 

Of more importance to continuation of the traditional ranching lifeway, and a much greater 
threat, are the continued pressures of people seeking out the small communities for 
recreational activities and "country living." The pressures of other uses on the land, as well as 
the influx of people with different values, and the opportunities for converting rangeland into 
housing developments is changing the traditional ranching cultures in many communities, and 
will continue to do so during the next century. 

4.3 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALTERNATIVES 

4.3.1 GRAZING MANAGEMENT 

4.3.1 .1 Alternative 1 , The Proposed Action 

Implementation of the proposed action would occur on a priority basis as described in 
Chapter 2 and within BLM's current staffing and funding levels, with full implementation 
predicted to be completed within 15 years. The actual improvement or recovery would extent 
beyond that timeframe in some areas, depending upon climate, topography, and physical 
potential of the site. 

Of the 705 allotments in the EIS area, 82 of these allotments do not meet one or more of the 
standards due to current or recent grazing practices. Most would require changes in 
livestock grazing management or grazing related activities; however, changes have already 
been implemented in a few. Most of the allotments requiring change are located within the 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Great Basin ecoregion, and contain a relatively large acreage of public rangeland. The 
allotments requiring change in the annual grassland area typically have less public land and 
would require comparatively fewer adjustments (such as an adjustment in utilization levels or 
season of use). 

Adjustments in the amount of grazing use (through changes in utilization levels, season of 
use, exclusion, etc.) would result in a reduction of 16,267 AUMs within 1-5 years, and 
extending through a good portion of the implementation period. Portions of some of the 
grazing allotments that are currently grazed would be excluded from grazing use entirely or at 
least until rangeland health conditions in those areas are fully restored. 

Changes in grazing systems would vary relative to the particular need for restoring rangeland 
health on a particular allotment. These systems may include prescriptive systems based on 
calendar dates or based upon vegetative conditions, such as range readiness, utilization 
levels, plant growth conditions, etc. Rotating grazing at different times or seasons on specific 
areas within an allotment is often effective. For some allotments, a minor modification of the 
existing grazing system may be all that is necessary. 

Changes in the current season of use that an allotment or a portion of an allotment is grazed 
may be needed to help rangeland health recovery. Proposed changes in class of livestock, 
most involving changing the use from cattle to sheep, would better enhance the recovery of 
riparian areas or areas where managing the current class of livestock to meet rangeland 
health goals is not achievable. 

Herding livestock, particularly in allotments with areas sensitive to grazing, such as riparian 
areas or habitats of endangered species, is considered to be a viable management measure 
for 37 allotments. It is predicted that this may require up to 1 24 additional workmonth 
equivalents in labor for the permittees or lessees. 



Table 4.3.1 : ESTIMATED MANAGEMENT CHANGES - PROPOSED ACTION 



No. of 
Allot.* 



47 

35 
47 
27 
11 
37 
49 
50 
32 
22 



Type of Change 



* 
0) 



Reductions in livestock use -- within 1-5 years, extending until recovery or 

improvement 

Areas excluded from livestock use 1 

Changes in grazing system 

Changes in season of use 

Changes in class of livestock 

Livestock herding needed 

Water developments needed 

Fencing needed 

Vegetative treatments needed 

Weed control needed 



Many of the allotments may require more than one type of change. 

Areas within existing allotments would no longer be available for grazing, but not the entire allotment would be 
excluded. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



In order to successfully implement many of the necessary management changes, as well as 
to further facilitate the enhancement of the health of vegetative communities, the range 
improvement projects identified in Table 4.3.1 and Table 4.3.1(a) will need to in place and/or 
implemented at an estimated cost of over $2 million. 



TABLE 4.3.1(a): ESTIMATED AMOUNT and COSTS of RANGE IMPROVEMENT 
PROJECTS 



Amount and Type of Activity 



1 1 ,000 acres of vegetative treatment 
7,000 acres of weed control 

177 livestock watering facilities 

247 miles of fencing 



Total 



Costs 



$ 587,000 
400,000 
449,000 
741 ,000 



$2,177,000 



Vegetative treatment projects would convert existing vegetative communities to a more 
desirable type generally through the use of prescribed fire, mechanical removal, and/or 
reseeding. Weed control would be done using an integrated management approach which 
could include the use of herbicides, mechanical removal, prescribed burning, or the use of 
biological control agents. The additional watering facilities and fencing would help re- 
distribute livestock use from existing heavily used areas or to help control livestock grazing 
use within specific areas or during specific seasons. 

Some sustainable grazing capacity is predicted to recover as vegetative conditions improve, 
with a corresponding reinstatement of some AUMs. As a result of the management changes, 
there may also be an increase in potential sustainable grazing capacity above current levels 
of authorized grazing use on some allotments. Actual determinations of how many AUMs 
would be reinstated or additional AUMs authorized or exclosures opened, where, and when 
have not been made, and would depend upon the actual on-the-ground improvements in 
rangeland health following implementation of management changes. 

4.3.1 .2 Alternative 2 -- State-wide Consistency/Consolidated Standards and Guidelines 

The impacts of this alternative are the same as for alternative 1 , the proposed action. 

4.3.1 .3 Alternative 3 -- No Action (Fall-Back Standards and Guidelines) 

The impacts of this alternative are the same as for the proposed action alternative, 
Alternative 1 , given the following assumption. 

The Fallback Guidelines numbers 7, 9, 11 and 12 raise some questions of original intent and 
consistency with the other alternatives. This becomes particularly critical when considering 
the future management of California's annual grasslands. It is assumed for the purposes of 
this analysis that fallback Guideline Number 15 was designed to provide an exception to the 
above guidelines for designated annual grassland in California as well as designated 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



ephemeral rangelands which are common in desert areas outside of the EIS area. The key 
concerns regard the enhancement and management of native species and the concern for 
season-long grazing. Guideline 15 then provides for sustaining healthy rangeland conditions 
within the management parameters identified for these type of rangelands. 



4.3.1 .4 Alternative 4 - Rapid improvement/Rapid Recovery Alternative 

Under this alternative implementation would occur on a priority basis as described in 
Chapter 2, however the rate of implementation would be accelerated beyond that of the other 
alternatives and beyond the capability of BLM's current staffing and funding levels. Most of 
the needed changes would be fully implemented within 5 years. Also, because of the need to 
enhance rangeland health conditions at this accelerated pace, some management changes 
would be applied differently and with a less incremental approach than might be done for the 
other alternatives. 

Adjustments in the amount of grazing use would result in a reduction of 35,901 AUMS within 
1-5 years. This increase in loss of AUMs over the other alternatives is a result of 
implementing more restrictive utilization levels, excluding more areas from grazing use, and 
implementing other measures that would accelerate rangeland health recovery much faster 
than the other alternatives. Portions of allotments, consisting of a total of 94,263 acres, would 
be excluded from grazing use. 

The types of changes in grazing management measures would be the same as for those in 
the proposed action, but the frequency at which the actions would be applied would increase 
and there would be an increase in the number and types of actions implemented on some 
allotments. The increase in the rate of application and intensity of management would be 
necessary in order to restore rangeland health in this accelerated time-frame. As compared 
to the proposed action alternative, adjustments in the amount of livestock use would affect 1 5 
additional allotments for short term reductions. There would be an additional 80,000 acres of 
areas excluded from grazing, at least on a temporary basis. Compared to the other 
alternatives, grazing management changes would be applied to an additional number of 
allotments as follows: grazing systems for 14 allotments, changes in season of use for 16 
allotments and 10 more allotments would require herding techniques requiring an estimated 
total of 222 workmonth equivalents of labor to conduct the herding. There would be no 
change in the number of allotments needing a change in class of livestock. The increase in 
the numbers of allotments affected is primarily due to allotments where some actions have 
already been implemented and improvements are occurring (no need for action under 
Alternatives 1-3), but different actions would be applied under this alternative to result in more 
rapid improvement or recovery. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



Table 4.3.1(b): ESTIMATED MANAGEMENT CHANGES - ALTERNATIVE 4 


No. of 


Type of Change 




Allot* 






62 


Reductions in livestock use -- within 5 years, extending until recovery 
improvement 


or 


37 


Areas excluded from livestock use 1 




61 


Changes in grazing system 




43 


Changes in season of use 




11 


Changes in class of livestock 




47 


Livestock herding needed 




32 


Water developments needed 




53 


Fencing needed 




32 


Vegetative treatments needed 




26 


Weed control needed 





* Many of the allotments may require more than one type of change. 

(1 ) Areas within existing allotments would no longer be available for grazing, but not the entire allotment would be 

excluded. 

The types of range improvement projects, as identified in Table 4.3.1(b) and Table 4.3.1(c), 
needed to facilitate the accelerated rate of improvement of vegetative conditions are the same 
as for the proposed action, however the amount of additional projects and areas affected 
would be greater resulting in an additional 22,000 acres of vegetative treatment, 3,000 acres 
of weed control, 22 more watering facilities, while the total miles of fencing needed is almost 
the same. The total costs predicted for implementing the projects would be $756,000 more 
than for the proposed action. 



TABLE 4.3.1.4(c): ESTIMATED AMOUNT and COSTS of RANGE IMPROVEMENT 
PROJECTS 


Amount and Type of Activity 


Costs 


33,000 acres of vegetative treatment 
10,000 acres of weed control 

1 99 livestock watering facilities 

248 miles of fencing 


$ 1,102,000 
550,000 
507,000 
774,000 


Total 


$ 2,933,000 



In order to implement the needed management actions for this alternative additional BLM 
staffing and funding would be required in order to meet the time frame objectives. As this 
alternative requires an acceleration of assessments, evaluations, management determinations 
and preparing range improvement projects for implementation or placement on public lands 
in such a short time, an estimated increase in 33 full-time equivalent personal with an 
additional $350,000 per year for operating expenses over current levels for implementation 
would be required. These additional costs would be required for the first five years of 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



implementation, thereafter a return to current levels of staffing for ongoing monitoring and 
administration may be appropriate. 

Some sustainable grazing capacity is predicted to recover as vegetative conditions improve, 
with a corresponding reinstatement of some AUMs. As a result of the management changes, 
there may also be an increase in potential sustainable grazing capacity above current levels ' 
of authorized grazing use on some allotments. Actual determinations of how many AUMs 
would be reinstated or additional AUMs authorized or exclosures opened, where, and when 
have not been made, and would depend upon the actual on-the-ground improvements in 
rangeland health following implementation of management changes. These changes are 
expected to occur much more rapidly under this alternative than under Alternatives 1-3. 



4.3.2 UPLANDS 
4.3.2.1 Soils 

The major difference between the alternatives is that under Alternative 1 , the RAC Standards 
and Guidelines, the Standards and Guidelines developed for the Susanville RAC area do not 
address plant litter. Under this alternative the measure chosen to gauge soil health is 
erosion. Erosion is a symptom of a system out of equilibrium, often due to a change in 
natural soil cover, soil intake rates (compaction) or the natural drainage pattern (roads). A 
change in soil cover resulting from fire or grazing may leave the soil unprotected from natural 
erosive forces of wind or water. In this example, erosion is the symptom and the cause is 
reduced soil cover. If management monitors erosion, then damage to the resources has 
already occurred; however, if the potential cause of the resource degradation is monitored 
and managed before damage occurs, then prevention is possible. This alternative could be 
improved by addressing litter in the soil standard. 

4.3.3 RIPARIAN-WETLANDS and STREAM CHANNELS 
4.3.3.1 Water Quality 

Under all alternatives, as explained in Section 4.2.3.3, we would see a general enhancement 
and improvement in riparian and wetland conditions. This improvement would be reflected in 
hydrologic function and water quality. This would be a similar improvement under all 
alternatives, but more rapidly under Alternative 4. 

Managing for the enhancement of water quality and meeting State water quality standards are 
a matter of BLM policy, as well as being mandated by the Clean Water Act and other 
authorities. BLM will comply with the direction in the regulations in 43 CFR 4180.2(e). 
However, although the standards and many of the guidelines either address or are supportive 
of enhancing water quality, there are some differences between the alternatives as well as 
some deficiencies that could result in BLM missing opportunities to improve water quality in 
some cases. An evaluation of the adequacy of the Standards and Guidelines in addressing 
water quality concerns is contained in Appendix 1 5. The potential impacts of those 
differences is discussed below. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



Alternative 1 

The Bakersfield and Ukiah RACs specifically address meeting state water quality standards. 
However, the Ukiah water quality standard provides for an exception to meeting state 
standards for off-stream artificial impoundments. This is contrary to the State's requirements, 
and therefore cannot be implemented by BLM. The Susanville standard and description does 
not address meeting state standards, and focuses instead on meeting "desired" beneficial 
uses. 

While some of the guidelines specifically address water quality concerns or support 
management measures that indirectly protect water quality, lack of some more specific 
guidelines such as hardening water gaps or water crossings, or measures minimizing 
livestock concentrations in riparian areas could result in overlooking opportunities to improve 
water quality. 

Alternative 2 

This standard does not address meeting state water quality standards, rather it focuses on 
working with the State of California and the Regional Boards to revisit the Basin Plans, and 
make new determinations of the beneficial uses. The intent is that BLM and the State of 
California would jointly determine what the new standards would be. 

As the guidelines for this alternative are the same as for Alternative 1 , the potential impacts 
would be the same. 

Alternative 3 

Neither the standards or guidelines specifically address water quality. The fallback standards, 
by not including water quality, are inconsistent with the requirements of the regulations, and 
the identified fundamentals of rangeland health. 

Some of the fallback guidelines do support protection of water quality values as identified for 
other purposes (Guidelines 3, 4, 12 and 13). Again, there is some risk that if guidelines do 
not specifically provide for grazing management actions that enhance water quality, then 
some impacts would occur due to oversight. 

Alternative 4 

The standard in this alternative specifically states that BLM will meet state water quality 
requirements. There is a specific guideline that states that when making management 
changes or adjustments, we would do them in a manner that would maintain or enhance 
water quality to meet identified management objectives. Guideline 1 also uses specific 
examples of management practices that could maintain or enhance water quality. However, 
there are no specific guidelines for minimizing livestock concentration at or near water 
sources, thereby increasing the possibility that opportunities to improve water quality would 
be overlooked. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



4.3.4 ECONOMICS 

The following economic impact analysis is based on assessments by the 1 California BLM 
Resource Areas of how implementation of the Standards and Guidelines would affect their 
rangeland management program. This analysis looks at the impacts in the contexts of the 
total EIS study area, of the three principal grazing counties, and of individual ranch 
operations. It should be remembered that the grazing impacts estimated by the field offices 
were conducted in a very different manner than the methods we use in actual allotment 
management. The analysis is not based on a thorough evaluation of up-to-date range 
inventory data for each allotment and permit. The impacts, therefore, represent only a 
probable scenario and not necessarily the actual outcome of implementing rangeland health 
standards and guidelines. 

4.3.4.1 EIS Study Area Analysis 

Income and Employment Impacts 

The grazing impact analyses from each of the ten BLM Field Offices in the EIS study area 
were summarized and the potential AUM changes totaled. Implementation of the standards 
and guidelines under Alternatives 1-3 could result in a reduction of 16,267 AUM's within the 
next five years (Shown in table 4.3.4.1 below). This reduction would be expected to continue 
through most of the implementation phase and until improvement or recovery occurs. If this 
AUM change were to occur, total income in the EIS area could be reduced by $ 837,417 plus 
a loss of 8 jobs over the next 5 years. The comparable short term AUM change for 
Alternative Four was a reduction of 35,917 AUMs with a potential total income loss of 
$ 1 ,837,41 and a decrease of 1 7 jobs over the entire EIS study area. These numbers do not 
represent a significant impact In the context of California's huge agricultural income and 
employment, or even in the 1.5 billion dollar California livestock industry. (See Appendix 17 
for the grazing economic impact methodology.) 



Table 4.3.4.1 : EIS Area Economic Impacts on Total Income and Employment by 

Alternative 


Alternative 


Short Term Net 
Change in AUM's 


Total Income Change 

($) 


Total 

Employment Change 


1 -3 


- 1 6,267 


- 837,417 


- 8 


4 


-35,917 


-1,837,410 


-17 



The possible reductions of 16,267 AUMs represents 4.8% percent of the total active 
preference of 340,499. It should be noted that non-use in FY 96 totaled 109,962 AUM's, 
meaning that livestock operators actually grazed only 67.7 percent of what BLM would permit 
them. The 32.3 % non-use results from a number of potential individual and national reasons. 
Individual reasons include personal circumstances of the operator, e.g. illness or operation 
problems, non-use also results from poor national livestock prices. For example, in Modoc 
County, from 1992 to 1996 the county livestock inventory dropped 8,000 animals representing 
a 15 percent drop. During that time, the average sale price for steers and heifers dropped 
21.5 percent. 



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Chapter 4 



The non-use cannot be utilized to offset the potential AUM reductions because different 
allotments and pastures are involved and present laws do not allow flexibility in permit grazing 
location. 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing 

Grazing fee receipts are variously distributed to the state/counties' range improvement fund 
and the federal treasury depending upon whether the AUM's involved fall within Section 3 or 
Section 15 administrative units. A reduction of AUMs would reduce grazing fee revenue. In 
Alternatives 1-3, a reduction of 16,267 AUMs within the next five years would decrease 
grazing fee receipts an estimated $21 ,960 at the current fee level of $1 .35 per AUM. It is 
estimated that 95 percent of the potential AUM reduction will fall in Section 3 allotments. 
Accordingly, receipts would be reduced as follows: states/counties $3,162, range 
improvement fund $10,980, and the federal treasury $7,818. 

In Alternative 4, a reduction of 35,917 AUMs within the next five years would decrease grazing 
fee receipts an estimated $48,488 at the current fee level of $1 .35 per AUM. Grazing fee 
revenue sharing would be reduced as follows: state/counties $6,982, range improvement fund 
$24,244, and the federal treasury $17,262. 

The projected state/county grazing fee revenue sharing decreases would not be significant for 
counties. The decreases to the counties of $3,162 and $6,982 represent only 1.6 and 3.4 
percent of the 1996 state/county fee revenue sharing of approximately $203,000. PILT 
payments would not be affected by implementation of the rangeland health standards, and 
PILT is a much more important source of revenues to county governments. The grazing fee 
revenue shared in California represents only 1.8 percent of the $10,981,192 state-wide PILT 
payments. 



Table 4.3.4.1 (a): EIS Area Economic Impacts on Grazing Fee Sharing by 
Alternative 


Alternative 


Net Change in 
AUM's 


Total Fee Sharing Change 


Alts: 1-2-3 


-16,267 


-$21 ,960 


Alt Four 


-35,917 


-$48,488 



Possessory Interest Tax 

The state of California has an assessment on grazing permits called the Possessory Interest 
Tax. Grazing permits are seen as the private right to the possession and use of publicly- 
owned property which has value. The tax is assessed on AUM value as calculated by each 
county. In Modoc County, the assessed value has four components: permit sale value, cost 
per AUM, a capitalization rate and the anticipated term of possession. In 1996, assessed 
value was calculated at $30 per AUM permit value, plus $1 .35/AUM x a 1 0% capitalization rate 
x 10 years term of possession. Because the revenue from the tax on BLM grazing permits is 
not separately recorded by the counties, it is not possible to state the total amount collected 
in 1 996. The assessed value of an AUM varies from county to county but an average value of 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



$43.95 will be used for the present analysis. Because Nevada does not have this tax, the 
AUM reductions in Nevada are removed from these calculations. 

The estimated AUM reduction in California would reduce possessory interest tax revenues by 
$3,248 under the alternatives 1 -3 and $7,690 under alternative four. 



Table 4.3.4.1 (b): EIS Area AUM Change Impacts on Total Possessory Interest Tax. 


Alternative 


AUMs 


Assessed Value 


Possessory Tax 


Alts 1 -3 


-7,390 


324,790 


-$3,248 


Alt 4 


-17,498 


$769,037 


-$7,690 



Permit and Real Estate Values: EIS Area 

As noted in Chapter Three, the assessed value of an AUM in a permit, times the number of 
AUMs allowed, adds to the sales value and taxable value of a ranching operation. If permit 
value is assessed at $30 an AUM, then a permit with 500 AUMs is valued at $15,000. The 
value of a BLM grazing permit to the total value of a ranch base property varies from region 
to region in the West in response to a number of variables, including real estate market 
forces. County Assessors in California report that in the last ten years, there has been 
roughly a twenty percent decline in permit value assessments because of changes in, and 
increasing uncertainty about, federal grazing permits. While a continuing decline in permit 
value is possible, the empirical research does not support making a percentage decline in 
value assumption and the following analysis uses a constant $30/AUM figure. Land values in 
California vary from region to region with values higher along the coast and in the central 
valley. Prices are lower, in general, in the northeastern part of the state. 

A 2,000 acre ranch at the California statewide average price of $2,21 5 per acre would be 
worth $4,430,000. A 2000 acre ranch at one-third the statewide average, or $738 an acre, 
would be worth $1 ,476,000. Using a permit value figure of $30 per AUM, a 500 AUM permit 
would be worth $15,000 and 1000 AUM permit would be worth $30,000. At the lower land 
value, the permit values represent only 1 to 2 percent of the total ranch sale value. At the 
higher land value the permits represent .5 and 1 percent of total ranch value. In California 
and Nevada, rural land prices have increased an average of 3 percent a year over the last 
decade. Therefore the land value increase in one year could exceed the total value of the 
grazing permit to the sale price of the ranch. 

Additional Permittee/Lessee Expenses 

In addition to the decrease in livestock operator income and permit value, some permittees 
would have other expenses. In some allotments, it was proposed that herding of livestock 
would be a part of implementing the Standards and Guidelines. In Alternatives 1-3, the need 
for 124 herding work months was projected for 37 allotments. Using average wage rates for 
livestock/field workers published in the Nevada 1996 Agricultural Statistics report, the total 
herding expense was calculated at $1 1 1 ,104, which, if evenly utilized in all 37 allotments, 
produced an additional expense of $3,002 per allotment per season. In Alternative 4, the 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



need for 222 work months in 47 allotments results in an additional total expense of $198,912. 
Dividing the total cost evenly among all allotments results in an additional expense of $4,232 
per allotment per season. 

BLM Range Management Program Cost Impacts. 

In the EIS public scoping process the question was raised of how much it would cost BLM to 
implement the Standards and Guidelines. Rangeland program expenditures include staffing, 
field work, and construction and some maintenance of range facilities such as fences and 
water developments. Program tasks include field inventory, data assessment and 
incorporation into AMPs and permits, permit administration, and ongoing rangeland 
monitoring and continuing grazing adjustment as needed. 

The BLM Washington Office instructed the field offices to plan for implementation of the 
Standards and Guidelines within existing staffing and budget levels. As a result, as seen in 
the following table, there are no projected BLM program fiscal impacts for Alternatives 1-3. 
But without additional agency funding the burden of implementation falls on the permittees 
and local communities as seen in the total income impact of $2.1 million per year (see Table 
4.3.4.1). 

The agency budget constraint did not apply to Alternative 4 and the field offices estimated 
that implementation would require an additional $2.4 million a year for at least the first five 
years for the rangeland management program. Concurrently, there would be an estimated 
$4.6 million total income loss for livestock operators and local communities (see Table 
4.3.4.1). 



Table 4.3.4.1 (c): EIS Area BLM Range Program Fiscal Impacts 




Present 
Budget 


Alts. 1-3: 
% Annual 
Increase 
Over 
Present 


Alt 4: Annual 
Increased 
Costs Over 5 
years 


% Annual 
Increase 
Over 
Present 


Personnel 


$ 998,627 


0.0% 


+$1 ,422,300 


142% 


Operations 


$ 330,174 


0.0% 


+$ 350,000 


1 06% 


Range 
Projects* 


$ 250,000 


0.0 %** 


+$ 586,600 


235%** 


Total 


$1,578,801 


0.0% 


+$2,358,900 


1 49% 



Only BLM funds (8100) are noted here. No assumptions are made for allocations of grazing fee revenues returned to 
the state/counties. 
** It is assumed that all of the existing CA BLM funds for range projects will be allocated to project needs. Therefore, only 

the amount over the existing budget is considered an increase. 

Several of the field offices reported that their impact assessment was constrained by 
rangeland inventory deficiencies. Except for the Areata, Bishop, Clear Lake and Hollister 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Resource Areas, most of the offices reported that they did not have adequate information to 
make an impact assessment on some of their allotments. As a result, 38 percent of the 
allotments, 268 of the total 705 in the EIS study area, are not included in the present grazing 
and economic impact analysis. In many of these cases, these are "C" or custodial allotments 
that have not received sufficient monitoring to produce data on ecological conditions. But 
other types of allotments are also involved and typically do not have up to date ecological 
condition assessments as a result of the need to prioritize program efforts due to budget 
limitations. Because most of these allotments are quite small, the percent acreage not 
included in the analysis is much Jower than the percentage of allotments. 

The implementation analysis was a very complex process and could have been approached 
somewhat differently from field office to field office. In Chapter Two of this EIS, the 
implementation section discusses a screening process whereby all allotments will be 
classified into one of three categories. Category 3 will be allotments where the status for one 
or more standards is unknown, or the cause of known problems is unknown. The 
implementation plan then describes an inventory and assessment process that includes a 
number of elements including riparian/wetland and upland functional assessment inventories. 
The field office responses on the extent of insufficient rangeland information makes it unclear 
if they are stating that the inventory updates, planning and permit revision and ongoing 
monitoring program could be completed in 15 years with no increase in personnel or 
operations expenditures. But under Alternative 4 the assessment and inventory is projected 
to be completed in five years. This accelerated process would require a significant increase 
in personnel and the cost is projected at $1 ,422,300 a year more than current levels. The 
personnel would be needed to conduct the increased ecological inventory, assessment and 
program implementation. This program eiement under Alternative 4 is the single biggest 
economic impact in the EIS analysis. 



4.3.4.2 Principal Grazing Counties 

Lassen and Modoc, CA and Washoe, NV, were identified in the affected environment analysis 
as the counties with the principal grazing programs administered by California BLM. Analysis 
of the field office reports finds that 87.7% of the potential short term AUM reductions under 
Alternatives 1-3 are located in these three counties. The specific estimates for each of the 
counties are contained in the following tables. The largest potential AUM reductions occur in 
Washoe County and would be administered by the Eagle Lake and Surprise Area offices in 
Susanville and Cedarville. The estimated 8,877 AUM reductions In Washoe County in the 
next five years, under alternatives 1 -3 represents 9.6 percent of the total number allowed 
(active AUM preference). Similarly, the estimated AUM reductions in Lassen County 
represents 6.2 percent of the active AUM preference for BLM allotments in that county. 

In both Lassen and Washoe Counties, the short term AUM reductions of Alternative 4 are 
twice the size estimated for the Alternatives 1 -3. The largest potential AUM reduction is the - 
18.5 percent estimated for the next five years in Washoe County under Alternative 4. 

Field office personnel did not project any AUM reductions in Modoc County for those 
allotments with adequate rangeland condition assessments. But the lack of up to date 
ecological condition assessments (e.g. riparian) resulted in only 30 percent of all Modoc 
County allotments being included in the grazing impact analysis. Some of the rangeland 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



areas of concern in Modoc County will be addressed in the forthcoming Tablelands 
Integrated Resource Management Plan so that implementation of the Standards and 
Guidelines is not expected to have impacts in those allotments. Modoc County is therefore 
not analyzed in the following tables which are based on the impacts of AUM changes. 



Table 4.3.4.2: 


Lassen County EIS Area Allotments: Total AUM Changes 


Total 

Authorized 

AUM's 


Alternatives 1 - 3 


Alternative 4 


1 to 5 Years 


1 to 5 Years 


AUM's 


% 


AUM's 


% 


83,030 


-5,124 


-6.2 


-11,315 


-13.6 



Table 4.3.4.2(a): Washoe County EIS Area Allotments: Total AUM Changes 


Total 

Authorized 

AUM's 


Alternatives 1 - 3 


Alternative 4 


1 to 5 Years 


1 to 5 Years 


AUM's 


% 


AUM's 


% 


92,417 


- 8,877 


-9.6 


-18,419 


-19.9 



When AUMs are reduced, a livestock operator's income can be affected by having to pay 
more for alternative forage/feed sources, or by reducing herd size resulting in less income 
from livestock sales. The analysis in the following tables is based only upon the herd size 
reduction scenario. 

The total income and employment impacts from the potential AUM changes are shown in the 
following two tables. 



Table 4.3.4.2(b): Principal Counties: Alternatives 1-3 Economic Impacts on Total 

income and Employment 


County 


Total Income Change 


Employment Change 


Lassen 


-$265,216 


- 2.5 jobs 


Washoe 


- $ 455,426 


- 4.3 jobs 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Table 4.3.4.2(c): Principal Counties: Alternative 4 Economic Impacts on Total 

Income and Employment 


County 


Total Income Change 


Employment Change 


Lassen 


-$568,142 


- 5.4 jobs 


Washoe 


- $ 950,634 


- 9 jobs 



The reduction in total income ($265,216) for Lassen County under Alternatives 1-3 represents 
a reduction of 3.5 % of the county's agricultural income, and .6% of the total county 
employment income. The reduction in total income ($568,142) under Alternative 4 represents 
a reduction of 7.4 % of the county's agricultural income, and 1 .3 % of the total county 
employment income. The loss of 2.5 jobs under Alternatives 1 -3 represents .4 % of the 
county's agricultural jobs, and .02 % of the county's total jobs (1 1 ,833). The loss of 5.4 jobs 
under Alternative 4 represents .9 % of the county's agricultural jobs, and .045 % of the 
county's total jobs. 

The reduction in total income ($455,426) for Washoe County under Alternatives 1 -3 represents 
a reduction of 1 3 % of the county's agricultural income, and .6% of the total county 
employment income. The reduction in total income ($950,634) under Alternative 4 represents 
a reduction of 27 % of the county's agricultural income, and 1 .2 % of the total county 
employment income. The loss of 4.3 jobs under Alternatives 1 -3 represents 1 % of the 
county's agricultural jobs, and .002 % of the county's total jobs (194,096). The loss of 9 jobs 
under Alternative 4 represents 2 % of the county's agricultural jobs, and .005 % of the 
county's total jobs. 

The potential AUM reductions would affect county revenues through reductions in revenue 
from the grazing fee and possessory interest tax. The amounts are shown in the following 
tables for Alternatives 1 -3 and Alternative 4. 



Table 4.3.4.2(d): Principal Counties: Alternatives 1-3 Annual Economic Impacts on 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing and Possessory Interest Tax by 
County 


County 


Fee Sharing 


Tax Revenue 


Lassen 


-$865 


- $ 2,252 


Washoe 


- $ 1 ,498 


n/a 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 4 



Table 4.3.4.2(e): Principal Counties: Alternative 4 Annual Economic Impacts on 

Grazing Fee Revenue Sharing and Possessory Interest Tax by 
County 


County 


Fee Sharing 


Tax Revenue 


Lassen 


- $ 1 ,908 


-$ 4,850 


Washoe 


-$3,108 


n/a 



Absentee Permittees and Grazing Program Impacts 

The economic viability of livestock ranches and local communities is an important issue in the 
rural Intermountain West. Often missing in the discussion is the fact that the economic 
impact of the livestock industry is complicated by the split ownership structure of grazing 
permits, permit base ranch locations and permit owner residence location. When a BLM 
grazing permit is owned by a permittee who lives outside the local area there is some affect 
on the location of revenues and expenditures. Income from livestock sales provides income 
for both the local ranch workers and the permit owner. Livestock operation expenditures are 
also affected. Expenditures such as travel, insurance, office expenses, financial services, and 
the increased possibility of non-local purchases for operations, spread the economic impact 
of livestock operations between the allotment location county and other locations. 

Research on the grazing program in one of the Resource Areas in the present analysis 
illustrates the point. Twenty percent of the operators were absentee permittees/lessees, i.e. 
did not live in the same county as the allotment, nor did they live close enough to use any 
local community as their primary source of supplies. These permittees held forty percent of 
the AUM's in the county administered by that BLM office. Furthermore, some of the operators 
leased from an absentee permit owner, and that absentee permittee is not included in the 
statistics above but implies a further dispersion of economic impact. 

To varying degrees, the dispersion of economic impacts is common. An examination of 
grazing permits in three other California Resource Areas found that 17, 52 and 53 percent of 
those who held permits and leases lived in a different county than their allotment and outside 
the local market area. 

Another aspect of grazing impacts involve local governments. The government fiscal situation 
is also complicated by the geographical split of allotment and operator location. In the same 
Resource Area grazing program examined in detail above, 78 percent of all livestock 
operators lived in a different county than their allotment location. But PILT payments to 
counties, grazing fee revenue sharing and California's Possessory Interest Taxes are directed 
to the allotment location county. In this example, 78 percent of the BLM grazing program 
local government fiscal benefits do not go to the county where the livestock operator lives. 

The economic implication of these facts is that some percentage of direct and indirect income 
impacts is distributed beyond the local and regional economy. 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Permit and Real Estate Values: Principal Counties Region 

The value of a BLM grazing permit to the total value of a ranch grazing permit base property 
varies from region to region and in response to a number of variables. But undeveloped land 
in the rural west is expected to rise in value in response to the increasing demand for land for 
residential development. 

For example, in Washoe County, the statistically average ranch is 2,270 acres with an average 
value of $289 per acre for a total value of $656,000. If land values continue in the next ten 
years as they did in the last ten years, the value of that average ranch will increase by 
$209,930 to a totai value of $865,930. If the permit values were to decline by 20%, a 500 
AUM permit would lose $3,000 in value, and a 1000 AUM permit would lose $6,000. In the 
case of the ranch with a 500 AUM permit, the sale price would be decreased by 1 .4%, with a 
2.9% decrease for the 1000 AUM permit. In conclusion, change in permit values over the next 
ten years, will likely be overshadowed by rising real estate prices. Because land values are 
so much higher in California than in Nevada, the decreasing economic importance of permit 
values in the study area will be accentuated. 



4.3.4.3 Impacts on Individual Livestock Operations 

How a permanent reduction in AUMs in the three county region area might impact individual 
livestock operations is affected by a number of basic factors, including: percentage 
dependency of the operation on federal land forage, the amount of operation debt, the 
diversity of income for the owners, efficiency of operation, the cost and availability of 
alternative forage, the increase of land values, and livestock prices. The complexity of the 
situation makes it impossible to predict the outcome with any degree of certainty. It is also 
important to remember that these AUM projections are not decisions. Future field 
investigation and assessment may find the projection unwarranted. Or a totally different 
solution than AUM reductions could develop. Accordingly, the AUM reduction estimates and 
the following discussion represent only one scenario. 

The drop in livestock prices in the last four years has severely impacted livestock operations 
in the three county area. For example, Modoc County operations experienced a 58.8 % drop 
in their livestock income during this period. It is reasonable to expect that the cumulative 
affect of further negative economic impacts will be more severe than they would be in times 
of high livestock prices. 

It is possible to make some general observations about the potential impact to individual 
livestock operations in the three county region. Thirty nine grazing permits in 24 allotments 
(9% of the total 271 allotments) are involved in the projected AUM reductions. Of these, 1 1 
permits are projected to require a 30 percent AUM reduction, 22 permits have estimated 
reductions lower than 30 percent (averaging 15%), and 6 permits could require reductions 
above that amount (averaging 45%). The research on the affect of AUM reductions on herd 
size has found that there is not a one-to-one ratio. Because of flexibility in operation and/or 
availability of alternative forage, the decrease in herd size is, in varying degrees, less than the 
proportional decrease in AUMs. The present analysis uses a model based on a sample of 
ranches in all of the western states including operations in Northern California. The model 
predicts that herd size reductions will vary by percentage of AUM reduction and percentage 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



of dependency on federal forage. If all of a livestock operation's animals were on federal land 
for five months of a year, for example, that operation would have a 42 percent federal forage 
dependency. 

The analytical model projects that a 15 percent AUM reduction could result in a ten percent 
revenue loss on that permit. For example, an operation with $50,000 in livestock sales could 
experience a ten percent loss in ranch income if this was their only grazing permit and source 
of income. (Operators could have more than one BLM grazing permit and a Forest Service 
permit too.) A ten percent reduction could be difficult but potentially not critical for continued 
ranch operation. The 1 1 permits experiencing the 30 percent reduction could experience a 
1 7 to 20 percent livestock income loss on this permit. In these times of low cattle prices, if 
this permit is the only source of ranch income, it is possible that only the operations with the 
best of economic conditions listed above could continue. For the 6 permits in the highest 
AUM reduction category, if this permit is their only source of ranch income, continued 
operation is in doubt. The exception to this worst case scenario would be if the permit in 
question is only a small part of a larger unaffected operation, or the owners have a large land 
equity upon which they can borrow and a plan for future ranch income diversification, or they 
have outside income. 



4.3.4.4 Economic Impact Analysis Closing Comments 

A number of major findings stand out in this economic impact analysis. The Standards and 
Guidelines implemented under Alternatives 1-3 could result in a loss of over 16,000 AUMs 
each of the next five years. Alternative 4 could trigger over twice that many AUM reductions. 
Available data did not permit a grazing impact analysis of all allotments. The vast majority of 
the AUM reduction impacts will occur in the principal grazing counties affecting the 
communities in Modoc and Lassen Counties. Although the percentage of livestock 
operators and permits affected is small, some of the operators could be heavily impacted. 
County government revenues are not expected to be noticeably impacted. A majority of the 
Washoe County income loss would affect Modoc County and the cumulative effect could be 
intensified in Modoc's small and economically undiversified rural economy. 

Not all of the potential economic impacts which are related to the ecological condition of BLM 
rangelands have been dealt with in this analysis. By definition, this study only deals with 
livestock management and rangeland conditions. Furthermore, the Standards and Guidelines 
do not deal with all of the policies and factors affecting the ecological condition of the public 
land. A brief review of these other factors would be beneficial for the public interested in the 
ecological health of the public lands. 

The economic impact of free-roaming wild horses and burros has not been a part of this 
analysis. Some of the range situations requiring remedial action are partially caused by wild 
horses and burros. For example, the field offices reported that year-long use by wild horse 
and burros severely impacts some riparian areas, limiting our ability to meet the riparian 
standards and guidelines under the different alternatives. These impacts are often greatest in 
drought years. In a number of allotments, the reason that livestock AUM reductions are 
projected is because fencing of riparian areas and pasture fencing is not feasible due to the 
movement needs of these free-roaming horses and burros. Solving the wild horse and burro 



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Chapter 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



impact problems will take personnel, time and money that is not necessarily included in the 
present analysis. 

Wildlife habitat goals and needs are only partially and indirectly addressed by the Standards 
and Guidelines. But public land rangeland management includes the identification of desired 
plant communities to serve many wildlife goals and objectives, e.g. for neotropical birds, 
shorebirds, waterfowl, deer, elk, etc. The national goal for the public rangelands can be seen 
as a combination of biological assessment and social values. That program and its economic 
impact is not included in the this analysis. 

The ecological condition of public lands is also affected by BLM fire suppression policy. 
Although the policy is in transition, BLM's past and present full suppression policy calls for 
immediate appropriate action to put out all wildfires. Fire suppression affects vegetation 
conditions. The affect of this policy in juniper tree encroachment on Intermountain 
rangelands is a major concern because of juniper competition for shallow groundwater and 
reduction of other vegetation in areas where juniper predominates. The economic impacts of 
fire suppression policy on rangeland ecological goals is not included in the present analysis. 

There is a serious noxious weed problem on public land that has only been partially dealt 
with in this analysis. Our technical ability to totally remove the plant invaders has 
uncertainties not reflected in the cost projections. For example, in some locations, past 
wildfires have totally changed the vegetation, and native plants have been replaced by plants 
such as cheatgrass, medusahead, yellow star thistle and knapweed. Some field personnel 
question whether it is even reasonable economically, to consider trying to eradicate some of 
the infested locations at the present time. This problem is another constraint and cost relative 
to the proposed goal of healthy rangelands. 

Another economic factor not considered is the cost to society of the loss of prime farmland 
and wildlife habitat as ranches are sold for development into rural residential development. 
Habitat mitigation programs, food prices, water quality programs and their fiscal impacts, are 
all affected by changes in the West's farm and ranch situation. 

There are indirect economic impacts to communities and individual quality of life that have not 
been analyzed in this study. The direct impacts to a community's economic vitality and a 
local government's revenues have indirect impacts to government services, water districts, 
hospitals, and schools. A decline of community vitality and the problems of community 
institutions and uncertain incomes and employment contribute to personal stress, impacting 
lives and the social and medical services that respond to people's needs. None of this has 
been a part of this analysis. 

There has been no analysis of the potential impact of federal budget decreases and federal 
personnel downsizing on the rangeland program objectives. There has been a continued 
decline in staffing and budget for the range program for the past 16 years. This trend has 
had a direct impact on recent initiatives to deal with the same issues addressed in the 
Standards and Guidelines initiative. For example, a key related initiative is the Bureau's 
Riparian initiative to achieve the goal that 75 percent of all riparian areas on federal land 
would be in properly functioning condition by 1997. As the table on riparian functioning 
condition in Chapter 3 indicates, that goal will not be met. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 4 



This impact analysis is relevant to two other prominent reports on the public rangelands. The 
health of U.S. rangelands is a matter of sharp debate. That debate prompted the Rangeland 
Health study by the Committee on Rangeland Classification of the National Research Council 
which produced the book Rangeland Health (1994). The Committee thoroughly analyzed 
data from the BLM, Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service (now National Resource 
Conservation Service) and came to the conclusion that available data does not allow 
investigators to reach definitive conclusions about the state of rangeland health (National 
Resource Council 1994, p. 3). In general, current, comprehensive and statistically reliable field 
data is lacking. The Committee recommends that standardized indicators and methods be 
developed for inventorying and monitoring rangeland health. It is also recommended that the 
Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior develop a coordinated plan for implementing a 
sampling system on federal rangelands that will produce valid estimates of the proportion of 
healthy, at risk and unhealthy rangelands. The resources allocated for implementation of 
rangeland health standards and guidelines must address the need for valid and statistically 
reliable data. 

The 1992 the General Accounting Office report, "Rangeland Management," evaluated BLM 
rangeland monitoring based on information collected in 1990-91. The GAO reported that, as 
of that point in time, BLM has performed the required monitoring and issued a decision on 
appropriate grazing levels for only about 20 percent of 1 4,500 allotments nation-wide. BLM 
range managers cited staff shortages and the need to perform higher priority work as 
important reasons why monitoring had not been more extensive. Responses to the GAO 
inquiry showed that a 23 percent reduction in range staff had occurred between 1980 and 
1990. Overall range program budgets have not increased since that time. The managers 
also reported that monitoring receives lower priority than several other range program tasks, 
including permit administration and implementation of funded range improvement projects 
such as fencing and water development. The GAO report concluded that inadequate 
resources to conduct rangeland monitoring was a serious problem in the BLM range 
program. In response to the GAO report, the Department of the Interior noted that a number 
of initiatives were underway to enhance the monitoring program. These included a strategy 
to be implemented in 1 992 called Coordinated Interdisciplinary Resource Monitoring (CIRM), 
an initiative to determine Desired Plant Communities on all allotments; and finally, a 
comprehensive range management initiative called The Range of Our Vision that would 
develop a more coordinated approach to rangeland monitoring. CIRM and the Range of our 
Vision initiatives have been discontinued, superseded by the Rangeland Reform initiative of 
1994. Desired Plant Community determination and implementation is still an important and 
central part of BLM rangeland policy. It requires interdisciplinary assessment teams and 
planning and raises more questions of the Bureau's capability with present staffing. 

The Rangeland Reform EIS stated, "rangeland ecosystems are not functioning properly in 
many areas of the West. Riparian areas are widely depleted and some upland areas produce 
far below their potential. Soils are becoming less fertile" (BLM 1994). One of the goals of this 
initiative was to accelerate the restoration and improvement of public rangelands. One step 
toward meeting this goal is the development of standards and guidelines for rangeland 
ecosystems. But full implementation will require a great deal of field investigation and follow- 
up with permittees. The question to be raised is whether achievement of rangeland health 
goals can be accelerated without increasing resources for the programs. 



Page 39 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 5 



CHAPTER 5: CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



5.1 CONSULTATION Page 2 

5.2 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION Page 2 

5.2.1 Resource Advisory Councils Page 2 

5.2.2 Scoping Page 3 

5.2.3 Distribution of the Draft EIS Page 3 

5.2.4 Additional Actions Page 4 

5.3 LIST OF PREPARERS Page 4 

5.3.1 Bakersfield RAC Page 4 

5.3.2 Ukiah RAC Page 4 

5.3.3 Susanville RAC Page 5 

5.3.4 Public Interest Groups, Agencies Page 5 

5.3.5 BLM Preparers Page 5 



Page 1 



Chapter 5 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



5.1 CONSULTATION 

During preparation of the draft EIS, BLM consulted informally with several federal and state 
agencies (Forest Service, California Dept. Water Resources, etc.). 

There was no formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service or Marine Fisheries 
Service as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as the direction to establish 
standards and guidelines was previously analyzed in the Range Reform '94 EIS. 
Implementation actions would be evaluated to determine if they may affect federally listed 
threatened or endangered (T&E) species, species proposed for listing, or designated or 
proposed T&E critical habitats. Before implementing actions that may affect listed or 
proposed species, the BLM will consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or the national 
Marine Fisheries Service as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. 

There has also been no formal consultation with the California Department of Fish and Game 
or the Nevada Division of Wildlife about state listed plant or animal species. Implementation 
actions would be evaluated to determine if they may affect state listed threatened or 
endangered (T&E) species, species proposed for listing, or designated or proposed T&E 
critical habitats. Before implementing actions that may affect listed or proposed species, the 
BLM will consult with the States. 

Before authorizing surface disturbance undertakings at the local level, BLM will identify 
cultural properties eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and 
consider the effects of the proposed undertakings through the consultation process in 
Section 1 06 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1 966. 



5.2 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

The EIS public participation process consists of several phases. We worked with the 
Resource Advisory Councils (RACs), and we had public scoping to help identify issues and 
gather information. The draft EIS is subject to further public review and comment during the 
public comment period. Following the public comment period, a final EIS will be developed. 
This final EIS will consider any additional comments received during the review period. 

Including public involvement throughout the process ensures that the process is open and 
considers information from all interested parties, including other federal agencies, state and 
local government, the scientific community, professional organizations, a variety of public land 
users, conservation organizations, and citizens at large. 

5.2.1 Resource Advisory Councils 

As BLM was directed to develop the standards and guidelines in consultation with the 
Resource Advisory Councils (RACs), we first worked to establish the RACs from members of 
the public as directed in the regulations in 43 CFR 1784. See Map 2 for the area covered by 
each RAC. Following development of the RACs, BLM resource specialists provided training 
on basic ecological processes. The RACs then worked with their constituents and with BLM 
staff to develop standards and guidelines for the areas they represent. Following public 



Page 2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Chapter 5 



scoping, the RACs incorporated some of that public comment into revisions. These 
standards and guidelines are alternative 1 in this draft EIS. 

Some RAC members also worked with BLM staff to prepare the state-wide standards in 
alternative 2. 



5.2.2 Scoping 

A Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 1 996, announcing the 
intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the development of rangeland 
standards and guidelines in California and northwestern Nevada. This notice also asked for 
comments concerning the scope of the EIS and Plan Amendments. We received only 2 
letters, one merely requesting that they be placed on the mailing list. 

BLM held three open workshops. Members of the public, members of the RACs, and some 
personnel from other agencies attended. Following the meeting on June 25, 1 996, BLM sent 
out a state-wide news release and mailed over 1 000 letters to potentially interested parties 
informing them of the EIS process and stating that we would accept public comments at any 
time. We then received 4 letters requesting that we open another public scoping period. 

Due to this newly expressed interest, we opened a second formal scoping period for 30 days 
during August (although we continued to accept letters well into September). We again sent 
out a state-wide news release, and mailed out new letters to the previous recipients. From 
this we received approximately 2 dozen comment letters. These letters are on file in the 
California BLM State Office. 

Based upon scoping comments that we needed to have an alternative that addressed a rapid 
recovery or rapid improvement concept, we approached three groups (California Native Plant 
Society, Natural Resources Defence Council, and Range Watch) for their input. The Native 
Plant Society (CNPS) provided us with a complete alternative. We have used some of their 
concepts and information to prepare the rapid improvement alternative (Alternative 4) in this 
draft. 

5.2.3 Distribution of the Draft EIS 

The impacts of the alternatives are analyzed in the draft EIS, which has been released for 
public review and comment during a 90-day comment period. Copies of the draft EIS have 
been sent to federal agencies, state and local governments, livestock operators and 
companies, environmental organizations, and many people concerned about the development 
of standards and guidelines for rangeland health. A copy of the draft EIS has been sent to 
each person who has requested it. 



BLM will also be meeting with interest groups, county supervisors, permittees and others 
needed to answer questions. 



as 



Page 3 



Chapter 5 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



5.2.4 Additional Actions 

The final EIS will incorporate comments and changes resulting from the public comment 
period. No sooner than 30 days after publication of the final EIS, the California State Director 
for BLM will issue a record of decision selecting standards and guidelines for California and 
northwestern Nevada. These standards and guidelines will then be sent to the Secretary of 
the Interior for final approval. 



5.3 LIST OF PREPARERS 

The following people, agencies and organizations participated with, and/or provided input to, 
BLM in developing the standards and guidelines in the various alternatives. 

5.3.1 Bakersfield RAC 



Tobin, Ed 
Center, Bill 
Arita, Steven 
Twisselman, Carl 



Off-road vehicle use 
Commercial recreation 
Energy / minerals 
Federal grazing 



Anderson, Linda 
Timmer, Kerri 
Scott Hennessy 
Cypher, Ellen 



Historical / archeological 
Resource conservation 
National / regional environmental 
National / regional environmental 



Maze, Bill 
Saulque, Joseph 
Alpers, Tim 
Pachucki, Walt 



Elected officials 
Native American interests 
Public at large 
Public at large 



5.3.2 Ukiah RAC 



Cooksley, James 
Furman, Duane 
Lassiter, Patric 
Engstrom, Thomas 



Energy / minerals 
Federal grazing 
Off-road vehicle use 
Commercial timber 



Evans, Steve 
Henson, Ryan 
Katelman, Tracy 
Reginato, John 



National / regional environmental 
National / regional environmental 
National / regional environmental 
Dispersed recreation 



Bundy, Burton 
Bungarz, Denton 
Sargent, Richard 
Weaver, Dan 



Public at large 
Elected officials 
Native American interests 
Public at large 



Page 4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Chapter 5 



5.3.3 Susanville RAC 



Hansen, Jack 
McGarva, Ken 
Coops, Don 
Kerns, Steven 
Parshley, Jeff 

Beaman, Kay 
Berrier, George 
Garrod, Tim 
Heniz, Dan 
Morphis, Huel 

Bixby, William 
Dick, Gordon 
Forrest, Erin 
Huffman, Nancy 
Jansen, Henricus 



Federal grazing 
Federal grazing 
Federal grazing 
Federal grazing 
Mining interests 

Historical interests 
Wild Horse and Burro interests 
National / regional environmental 
National / regional environmental 
Dispersed recreation 

Local / state government 

Public at large 

Native American interests 

Elected officials 

Academia 



5.3.4 Public Interest Groups, Agencies 

California Cattlemen's Association 

California Native Plant Society 

California State Water Resources Control Board 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

U.S. Forest Service 



5.3.5 BLM Preparers 

The following BLM staff contributed by working with the RACs, providing resource information, 
doing analytical work, and writing the EIS. 



Anthony-Wheeler, Jennifer 
Bardwell, Pardee 
Borchard, Steve 
Bosworth, John 
Brink, Paul 

Cooney, Frank 
Cotterill, Bruce 
Cranston, Peggy 
Decker, James 
Delaney, Leroy 

Devalois, Tara 
Dodge, Douglas 
Doran, Karen 
Farschon, Roger 



Natural Resource Specialist, Areata R.A. 
Range Conservationist, Clear Lake R.A. 
Soil Scientist, Redding R.A. 
Environmental Coordinator, Eagle Lake R.A. 
Wilderness Coordinator, California State Office 

Outdoor Recreation Planner, Surprise R.A. 
Range Conservationist, Hollister R.A. 
Wildlife Biologist, Folsom R.A. 
Riparian Coordinator, California State Office 
Area Manager, Ridgecrest R.A. 

Range Conservationist 

Supervisory Resource Management Specialist, Bishop R.A. 
Natural Resource Specialist (Range), Caliente R.A. 
Wildlife Biologist, Surprise R.A. 



Page 5 



Chapter 5 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Fontana, Jeff 
Gish, Mark 
Hansen, Linda 
Halford, Anne 
Knox, Ann 

Lorentzen, Ed 
Mauck, Ralph 
Mercer, Larry 
Mills, John (Jack) 
Molter, Joseph 

Morrison, James 
Saslaw, Lawrence 
Stokke, Susie 
Visser, Kenneth M. 
Wagner, Joseph A. 

Willoughby, John 
Wingate, George 



Public Affairs Specialist, NorCal Support Team 

Range Conservationist, Bishop R.A. 

Area Manager, Eagle Lake R.A. 

Botanist, Bishop R.A. 

Coop. Educ. Trainee, Botany, California State Office 

T&E Species Coordinator, California State Office 
Range Conservationist, Eagle Lake R.A. 
Public Affairs Specialist, Bakersfield District Office 
Environmental Coordinator, California State Office 
Natural Resource Specialist, Redding R.A. 

Rangeland Management Specialist, California State Office 

Wildlife Biologist, Bakersfield District Office 

Area Manager, Surprise R.A. 

Lead Range Conservationist, Eagle Lake R.A. 

Range Conservationist, Alturas R.A. 

State Botanist, California State Office 

Watershed Management Specialist, Eagle Lake R.A. 



Maps were prepared by the California State Office, GIS Staff, Donna Smith, coordinating. 



Page 6 



California BLM Administered Land 



Public Land 



Resource Area Boundary 




"cs, 



Palm Springs/South Coast RA $ 



2 5 25 50 75 10 

Miles 




MAP-1 



Resource Advisory Councils 



Public Land 




'O^ 



California Desert 



25 25 50 75 100 



Miles 




MAP-2 



Area of Analysis 



25 25 50 75 100 



Miles 




Public Land 



Resource Area Boundary 



O^ 



MAP-3 



Floristic Provinces 



25 



Miles 




Public Land 
California Province 

Great Basin Province 
Resource Area Boundary 



25 50 75 100 



MAP-4 



STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD 

P.O. BOX 100, Sacramento, CA 9581 2-01 0C 



Legislative and Public Affairs: (916) 657-2390 
Water Quality Information: (916) 657-0687 



Clean Water Programs Information: (916) 227-4400 
Water Rights Information: (916) 657-2170 



CALIFORNIA REGIONAL WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARDS 



NORTH COAST REGION (1) 

5550 Skylane Blvd., Ste. A 
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 
(707) 576-2220 

SAN FRANCISCO BAY REGION (2) 
2101Webster Street, Ste. 500 
Oakland, CA 9461 2 
(510)286-1255 



TONcry / s««t» 



CENTRAL COAST REGION (3) 

81 Higuera Street, Ste. 200 
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-5427 
(805) 549-3147 

LOS ANGELES REGION (4) 

101 Centre Plaza Drive 
Monterey Park, CA 91 754-21 56 
(213)266-7500 

CENTRAL VALLEY REGION (5) 

3443 Routier Road 
Sacramento, CA 95827-3098 
(916)255-3000 

FRESNO BRANCH OFFICE 

3614 East Ashlan Avenue 
Fresno, CA 93726 
(209)445-5116 

REDDING BRANCH OFFICE 
41 5 Knollcrest Drive 

Redding, CA 96002 
(916)224-4845 



LAHONTAN REGION (6) 
2092 Lake Tahoe Blvd. 
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 
(916)542-5400 

VICTORVILLE BRANCH OFFICE 

15428 Civic Drive, Ste. 100 
Vlctorville, CA 92392-2383 
(619)241-6583 

COLORADO RIVER BASIN 
REGION (7) 

73-720 Fred Waring Dr. Ste. 100 
Palm Desert, CA 92260 
(619)346-7491 

SANTA ANA REGION (8) 

2010 Iowa Avenue, Ste. 100 
Riverside, CA 92507-2409 
(909)782-4130 

SAN DIEGO REGION (9) 

9771 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Ste. B 
San Diego, CA 921 24 
(619)467-2952 



2 Is 



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STATE OF CALIFORNIA 

Pete Wilson, Governor 

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL 
PROTECTION AGENCY 

James M. Strock, Secretary 

STATE WATER RESOURCES 

CONTROL BOARD 

John P. Caffrey, Chair 



\ 



MAP-5 



Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas 




Public Land 



Resource Area Boundary 



1 . Fort Sage 

2. Twin Peaks 

3. Ravendale 

4. Red Rock Lakes 

5. Devil's Garden 

6. Coppersmith 

7. Buckhom 

8. Fox Hog 

9. High Rock 

10. Wail Canyon 

11. Nut Mountain 

12. Bitner 

13. Massacre Lakes 

14. Carter Reservoir 

15. Montgomery Pass 



\ 



\ 



25 



25 



50 



Miles 



75 



100 



MAP-6 



Important Range Counties for Economic Analysis 



Washoe Co. NV 



25 25 50 75 100 



Miles 



San Ber\\l&Qo.^yA<^ 



Public Land 
Important County 




San Luis Obispo 



O^ 



MAP-7 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 



APPENDIX 1: RANGELAND HEALTH EVALUATION MATRIX 

The Rangeland Health Evaluation Matrix was taken directly from pages 1 30 and 1 31 of the 
January 1 994 report entitled Rangeland Health: New Methods to Classify, Inventory and 
Monitor Ranqelands , published by the National Research Council. The matrix represents 
three phases of evaluation recommended by the committee. It is designed to be an 
evaluation tool that involves simple, often visual measurements. 

Based upon limited field testing, there are a couple of important points to be remembered 
when using the matrix. 

The first point is that soil stability and watershed function are the most important criteria when 
measuring rangeland health. These two factors should have greater weight than other 
criteria. Soil movement off site probably means that the rangeland is unhealthy. 

The second point is that the precise boundary between the categories of healthy, at risk, and 
unhealthy is not clear. Placement of an area into one of these categories will require 
judgement, and there will be borderline cases that are difficult to place. There is good 
scientific understanding of how to use soil surface characteristics as indicators of soil stability. 
However, the scientific understanding needed to develop and interpret measurable indicators 
of changes in nutrient cycling, energy flow, and recovery mechanisms is less will developed 
(National Research Council 1994). 





RANGELAND HEALTH EVALUATION MATRIX 




Indicator 


Healthy 


At Risk 


Unhealthy 




Soil Stability and V\ 


Watershed Function 




Soil A horizon 


Present and 
unfragmented 


Present, but 
fragmented 
distribution 
developing 


Absent, or present 
only in association 
with prominent 
plants or other 
obstructions 


Pedestalling 


None 


Pedestals present, 
but on mature plants 
only. No roots 
exposed 


Most plants and 
rocks pedestalled, 
roots exposed 


Rills and gullies 


Absent or with 
blunted or muted 
features 


Small, embryonic, 
and not connected 
into a dendritic 
pattern 


Well defined, 
actively expanding, 
dendritic pattern 
established 


Scouring or sheet 
erosion 


None visible 


Patches of bare soil 
or scours 
developing 


Bare areas and 
scours well 
developed and 
contiguous 



Page A1 -1 



Appendix 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Sedimentation or 
dunes 


No visible soil 
deposition 


Soil accumulating 
around plants or 
small obstructions 


Soil accumulating in 
large barren 
deposits or dunes, 
or behind large 
obstructions 


Distribution of Nutrient Cycling and Energy Flow 


Distribution of plants 


Plants well 
distributed across 
site 


Plant distribution 

becoming 

fragmented 


Plants clumped, 
often in association 
with prominent 
individuals, large 
bare areas between 
clumps 


Litter distribution 
and incorporation 


Uniform across site 


Becoming 
associated with 
prominent plants or 
other obstructions 


Litter largely absent 


Root distribution 


Community structure 
results in rooting 
throughout available 
soil profile 


Roots are absent 
from portions of the 
available soil profile 


Roots only present 
in one portion of 
the available soil 
profile 


Distribution of 
photosynthesis 


Photosynthetic 
activity occurs 
throughout the 
period suitable for 
plant growth 


Most photosynthetic 
activity occurs 
during one portion 
of plant growth 
period 


Little or no 
photosynthetic 
activity on location 
during most of the 
period suitable for 
plant growth 


Recovery Mechanisms 


Age-class 
distribution 


Distribution reflects 
all species and age 
classes 


Seedlings and 
young plants 
missing 


Primarily old or 
deteriorating plants 
present 


Plant vigor 


Plants display 
normal growth form 


Plants developing 
abnormal growth 
form 


Most plants in 
abnormal growth 
form 


Germination 


Microsites suitable 
for germination 
present and well 
distributed 


Developing crusts, 
soil movement or 
other factors 
degrading 
microsites; crusts 
are fragile 


Soil movement or 
crusting sufficient to 
inhibit most 
germination and 
seedling 
establishment 



Source: National Research Council, 1994. 



Page A1 -2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 2 



APPENDIX 2: GRAZING EIS's in CALIFORNIA 



California BLM Grazing Environmental Impact Statements 


EIS Title 


Date 


Resource Area 


Tuledad / Home Camp 


1979 


Surprise - south part 


Cowhead / Massacre 


1981 


Surprise - north part 


Alturas 


1984 


Alturas 1 


Mount Dome 


1981 


Alturas - NW part 


CAL / NEVA 


1982 


Eagle Lake - NE part 


Willow Creek 


1983 


Eagle Lake - NW part 


Honey Lake / Beckworth 


1984 


Eagle Lake - south part 


Yokayo 


1983 


Clear Lake and Areata 


Redding 


1983 


Redding 2 


Sierra 


1983 


Folsom 


Hollister 


1984 


Hollister 3 


South Sierra Foothills 


1984 


Caliente -- east part 


Coast / Valley 


1985 


Caliente - west part 


Benton / Owens Valley 


1982 


Bishop - south part 


Bodie / Coleville 


1983 


Bishop - north part 


CDCA 


1981 


CDCA 4 


East San Diego 


1981 


El Centro 5 


Otay 


1984 


South Coast 6 



1 Includes most of Alturas Resource Area, and a small part of Surprise Resource Area. 

2 Also includes some grazing allotments in the Clear Lake and Alturas Resource Areas. 

3 Also includes grazing allotments in Madera and eastern Fresno County in the Folsom Resource Area. 

4 Includes all grazing areas in the California Desert Conservation Area, which includes the public rangelands administered 
by the Ridgecrest, Barstow, Needles and Palm Springs Resource Areas. 

5 Includes the McCain Valley area in Eastern San Diego County. 

6 Includes those areas available for grazing in San Diego County other than in the McCain Valley area. 

Page A2-1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 3 



APPENDIX 3: LEGAL FRAMEWORK 

The Bureau of Land Management operates under a number of federal and state laws and 
regulations. The following is a brief listing of the major laws that affect BLM's management of 
public lands. 

Some of these laws are specifically referenced within the EIS, some are not. Decisions within 
the EIS will not affect BLM's responsibility to adhere to and/or enforce these laws. 



FEDERAL LAWS 

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): NEPA requires all federal agencies to analyze 
the environmental impacts of any proposed action affecting public lands or resources, to 
involve the public in decision making, and to disclose environmental impacts to the public. 
NEPA also requires that the analysis be interdisciplinary and issue driven and that the 
cumulative and indirect effects be reported. An EIS is required for any major federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 

Taylor Grazing Act (TGA): With amendments, this act is the basic legislative authority 
governing grazing use on the vacant public lands of the United States. 

Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA): This law established public land policy 
providing for the retention and management of the public lands held in Federal ownership, 
including special provisions for land use planning and range management. 

Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA): This legislation of 1978 further supports the 
authority of the Taylor Grazing Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act by 
placing special emphasis for the improvement of rangeland conditions. 

Endangered Species Act (ESA): This act requires the federal land management agencies to 
protect and enhance all species and their habitats on federal lands that are listed as 
endangered, threatened, or proposed for listing. Included in this act in Section 7 is a required 
process for all federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding 
any federal action that may affect a federally listed threatened or endangered species. 

Clean Water Act (CWA): This law's objective, administered by the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA), is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological 
integrity of the nation's waters. It directs the federal agencies to comply with water quality 
standards, including initiating actions to control non-point sources of pollution such as 
grazing, as determined by each respective State government and as approved by EPA. 

Coastal Zone Act Re-authorization (CZARA): This act is applicable to all waters in California 
and, as amended in 1990, places additional requirements on the states to address non-point 
source pollution in several categories, including rangeland. The federal agencies, such as the 
Bureau of Land Management are to cooperate with the state in fulfilling these requirements. 

Federal Noxious Weed Act: This 1974 act, as amended in 1990 (Section 15 of the act), adds 
further responsibility for the federal land management agencies, in cooperation with the 

Page A3-1 



Appendix 3 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



respective state agencies, to actively pursue the control of undesirable plants using an 
integrated management approach. 

Carson-Foley Act (43 USC 1241) of 1968: This law provides for the control of noxious 
plants on land under the control and jurisdiction of the Federal Government by permitting the 
appropriate state agency to enter such lands to destroy noxious plants. 

Antiquities Act of 1 906 and amendments: This act provides for the protection of historic and 
prehistoric sites and objects of antiquity on Federal lands; and authorizes scientific 
investigation of such sites and antiquities, subject to permits and other regulatory 
requirements. Paleontological resources are also covered by this act. 

American Indian Religious Freedom Act: This 1 978 act makes it a policy of the government 
to protect and preserve for Native Americans their inherent rights of freedom to believe, 
express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and 
Native Hawaiian. These rights include, but are not limited to, use of sites and access to 
those sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through 
ceremony and traditional rites. 

Executive Order 13007: This executive order affirms that Native Americans have the right to 
access specific spiritual and sacred sites on federal lands as long as that access is not 
inconsistent with the administrative goals of the agency. 

Archeological Resources Protection Act: This act prohibits the removal, sale, receipt, and 
interstate transportation of archeological resources obtained illegally (without permits) from 
public or Indian lands and authorizes agency permit procedures for investigations of 
archeological resources on public lands under the agency's control. Amendments state that 
the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture and Defense shall develop plans for surveying the 
lands under their control to determine the nature and extent of archeological resources, 
prepare a schedule for surveying those lands that are likely to contain the most scientifically 
valuable archeological resources, and develop documents for reporting suspected violations. 
Tribes are given 30 days to comment on permits for the excavation of archeological 
resources within their "aboriginal territory." 

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA): This act established historic 
preservation as a national policy and defines it as the protection, rehabilitation, restoration, 
and reconstruction of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American 
history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Significance is determined by 
specific criteria. The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the National Park 
Service. 

Native American Graves Protection Act of 1990 (NAGPRA): This act requires federal 
agencies and federally sponsored museums to establish procedures for identifying Native 
American groups associated with cultural items on federal lands, to inventory human remains 
and associated funerary objects in federal possession, and to repatriate (return) such items 
upon request to affiliated groups. It also requires that any discovery of cultural items covered 
by the act shall be reported to the head of the federal agency, who shall notify the 
appropriate Native American tribe or community/organization. 



Page A3-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 3 



Executive Order of April 29, 1 994: This executive order established that it is the policy of the 
United States that formal government to government relationships shall be established 
between agency heads and all formally recognized tribes. This policy provides the impetus 
for developing protocols and memoranda of understanding between the BLM and the 
federally recognized tribes. BLM has also applied the policy to unrecognized Indian 
communities. 



STATE LAWS (California and Nevada) 

Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act: This act establishes a comprehensive water 
quality program for the state of California, through the State Water Resources Control Board, 
including a non-point source program on rangelands. This act also gives authority to nine 
semi-autonomous Regional Water Quality Control Boards within the state. 

Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 445: This chapter authorizes the Nevada 
Department of Environmental Protection to serve as the designated agency in Nevada to 
implement the Clean Water Act and to develop comprehensive plans and programs for 
preventing, reducing, or eliminating pollution, including those from non-point sources on 
rangelands. 

California Food and Agriculture Code, Section 403 and Title 3, California Code of 
Regulations, Section 4500: These codes provide the responsibilities and priorities governing 
the California Department of Food and Agriculture to protect the agricultural industry of the 
state by controlling weeds on all lands, including federally owned rangelands. 

California Endangered Species Act: This act is administered by the California Department of 
Fish and Game and is patterned after the federal Endangered Species Act, by providing a 
state listing and protection responsibilities for species determined to be specifically protected 
within California. 

California Native Plant Protection Act: This 1 977 act provided for the California Department 
of Fish and Game to "preserve, protect, and enhance endangered plants in California". 



Page A3-3 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 4 



APPENDIX 4: LAND USE PLANS in CALIFORNIA 

In accordance with the range regulations at 43 CFR 41 00, existing land use plans (Resource 
Management Plans, Management Framework Plans, and special plans such as PACFISH) 
have been examined to determine their compliance with the new regulations and the 
principles of rangeland health. In most cases, these plans do comply. 

Except for the PACFISH and the Northern Spotted Owl planning decisions, existing plans will 
be amended to include the standards and guidelines that are adopted through this EIS. 
Where there are plan decisions that are contrary to the new regulations and the principles of 
rangeland health, those decisions will be removed from the plans. A complete list of the 
plans to be amended is in the following table. 



LAND USE PLAN 


PLAN 
DATE 


RESOURCE AREA 


Tuledad / Home Camp MFP 


1978 


Surprise - south part 


Cowhead / Massacre MFP 


1980 


Surprise - north part 


CAL / NEVA MFP 


1982 


Eagle Lake - NE part 


Willow Creek MFP 


1983 


Eagle Lake - NW part 


Honey Lake MFP 


1983 


Eagle Lake - south part 


Eagle Lake MFP Amendment 


1990 


Eagle Lake - Eagle Lake area 


Alturus RMP 


1983 


Alturas - most of area 


Ash Valley Amendment 




Alturas - part only 


Mount Dome MFP 


1981 


Alturas - part only 


Redding (old) MFP 


1983 


Alturas - part only 


King Range Con. Area Mgt. Plan 


1974 


Areata - King Range only 


Areata RMP 


1992 


Areata - exclusive of King Range 


Redding RMP 


1993 


Redding 


Clear Lake MFP 


1984 


Clear Lake - part 


Sierra MFP Amendment 


1988 


Folsom 


Hollister RMP 


1984 


Hollister 


Clear Creek Amendment 


1995 


Hollister - part only 


Bishop RMP 


1993 


Bishop 


Caliente RMP 


pending 


Caliente 



Page A4-1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 5 



APPENDIX 5: ALLOTMENT PRIORITY CATEGORIZATION 

Since the early 1980's grazing allotments have been assigned to one of three categories, 
based upon current resource conditions and the potential for improvement. This 
categorization has served as a method for the BLM to determine which allotments should 
have the most management attention. Each allotment is to be reviewed at least annually to 
determine if the categorization is still appropriate for the particular allotment based on 
monitoring or other information. If not, the Area Manager is to reassign the allotment to the 
appropriate category. The following table shows the number of allotments in each Resource 
Area, and their current category. The categories are described following the table. 



Resource Area 


Management Priority Categories 


Total 
Allotments 


1 


M 


C 


U 


Redding 


3 


14 


25 




42 


Clear Lake 


3 


2 


9 




14 


Areata 


5 


2 


4 




11 


Eagle Lake 


21 


13 


26 


4 


64 


Surprise 


26 


4 


22 




52 


Alturas 


22 


24 


111 




157 


Bishop 


12 


18 


30 




60 


Folsom 


8 


6 


103 




117 


Caliente 


82 


12 


19 




113 


Hollister 


30 


20 


25 




75 


TOTAL 


212 


115 


374 


4 


705 



(1 ) Category "I" (Improvement) allotments generally have potential for increasing resource 
production or conditions, but are not producing at that potential. There may be conflicts or 
controversy involving resource conditions and uses, but there are realistic opportunities to 
enhance resource conditions. 

(2) Category "M" (Maintain) allotments are in satisfactory resource condition and are 
producing near their potential under existing management strategies. There are little or no 
known resource use conflicts or controversies. 

(3) Category "C" (Custodial) allotments usually consist of relatively small acreage or parcels of 
public land. They are often, but not always, intermingled with larger amounts of non-federally 
owned lands. There should be no known resource conflicts involving use or resource 
conditions. Usually opportunities for positive economic return from public investments are 
limited in these allotments. 



Page A5-1 



Appendix 5 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



(4) Unclassified "U" allotments have yet to be evaluated to determine the appropriate 
management priority category. 



Page A5-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 6 



IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS 




Monitor 



No Upward Trend (or Trend 
I Unknown) 

Priority for Change 



Grazing the Problem Grazing Not the Problem 

I I 

Tailor guidelines to situation Other action 

Possible change in Activity required 

Plan at Allotment level 



i 



Terms and Conditions in Permit, 
Other adjustments to Permit 



Monitoring - Is 
permittee following 
Guidelines 



Monitoring -- Is allotment meeting Standards 




Monitor 



Page A6-1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 7 



APPENDIX 7: CONDITION and TREND 



Tables 1 through 6 show rangeland conditions and trends as of September 30, 1 996. 

Please remember, when we talk about trend and condition as it has been used by BLM, 
NCRS and others, we are not talking about rangeland health or proper functioning condition 
(which is what we need to discuss). What we are talking about is whether a site is moving 
towards a climax vegetative community, which may not be the desired state. In many cases, 
we are managing for, and desire, a lower serai stage, or a mix of stages spread over the 
landscape. Although we may say that the condition is poor, with no upward trend, this does 
not necessarily mean that these areas are in poor health. 



Table 1 - Range condition of uplands in the sagebrush steppe vegetation type, as 
determined by: a. ecological site inventory; or b. other inventory methods and professional 
judgement. 



a. Ecological site inventory 












Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Inventoried 


Ecological Status (Acres) 


Potential 

Natural 

Community 


Late Serai 


Mid Serai 


Early Serai 


Unclassified 


Bishop 


227,068 


37,781 


105,817 


71 ,870 


1 1 ,600 





Eagle 
Lake 


946,397 


1,275 


99,246 


432,189 


370,198 


43,489 


Surprise 


101,486 


1,341 


54,251 


33,518 


3,880 


8,496 


Redding 


13,558 








5,551 


3,223 


4,784 


Totals 


1 ,288,509 


40,397 


259,314 


543,128 


388,901 


56,769 



Page A7-1 



Appendix 7 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



b. Other inve 


sntories and 


Drofessional judgement. 








Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Range Condition (Acres) 


Excellent 


Good 


Fair 


Poor 


Unclassified 


Bishop 


375,941 


96,906 


90,914 


144,625 


43,496 


375,941 


Eagle 
Lake 


49,350 


640 


3,523 


1 1 ,384 


19,014 


14,789 


Surprise 


1 ,343,999 





88,474 


862,443 


393,082 





Alturas 


496,773 


10,090 


94,653 


192,125 


40,607 


159,298 


Caliente 


120,927 


32,953 


41,184 


37,079 





9,711 


Totals 


2,386,990 


140,589 


318,748 


1 ,247,656 


496,199 


183,798 



Table 2 - Forage condition of non-native grass seedings in the sagebrush steppe vegetation 
type. 



Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Forage Condition (Acres) 


Excellent 


Good 


Fair 


Poor 


Unclassified 


Bishop 


1 1 ,021 


8,197 


1,364 


800 


660 





Eagle 
Lake 


9,730 





9,730 











Surprise 


34,261 





31 ,458 


2,803 








Alturas 


4,460 


300 


2.320 


1,840 








Caliente 


7,217 


2,617 


3,300 


700 


600 





Totals 


66,689 


2,917 


45,854 


6,143 


1,260 






Page A7-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 7 



Table 3 - Range condition of uplands in the annual grassland vegetation type, based on a 
combination of inventories (other than ecological site inventory) and professional judgement. 



Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Range Condition (Acres) 


Excellent 


Good 


Fair 


Poor 


Unclassified 


Areata 


35,431 


13,395 


10,062 


1 1 ,974 








Clear 
Lake 


19,076 














19,076 


Redding 


35,712 


90 


22,022 


4,662 





8,938 


Caliente 


337,372 


5,716 


250,832 


41 ,557 


4,193 


35,074 


Folsom 


87,879 





87,879 











Hollister 


149,211 





149,211 











Totals 


664,681 


19,201 


520,006 


58,193 


4,193 


63,088 



Table 4 - Forage condition of non-native seedings in the annual grassland vegetation type. 



Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Forage Condition (Acres) 


Excellent 


Good 


Fair 


Poor 


Unclassified 


Clear Lake 


100 


100 















Page A7-3 



Appendix 7 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Table 5 - Trend of rangelands in the sagebrush steppe vegetation type. 



Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Trend 


Up 


Static 


Down 


Undetermined 


Bishop 


614,030 


160,257 


298,247 


1 55,526 





Eagle 
Lake 


1 ,005,477 











1 ,005,477 I 


Surprise 


1 ,479,746 


625,797 


707,187 


146,762 





Alturas 


501 ,233 


6,611 


400,052 


33,997 


60,573 


Caliente 


128,144 


20,326 


53,81 1 


37,079 


16,928 


Redding 


13,558 


1,604 


4,538 


7,170 


246 


Totals 


3,742,188 


814,595 


1 ,463,835 


380,534 


1 ,083,224 



Table 6 - Trend of rangelands in the annual grassland type. 



Resource 
Area 


Total BLM 

Acres 
Assessed 


Trend 


Up 


Static 


Down Undetermined 


Areata 


35,431 


850 


29,715 





4,866 


Clear Lake 


19,176 





3,680 





15,496 


Redding 


35,712 


13,173 


15,202 





7,337 


Caliente 


337,372 


143,655 


138,345 


27,515 


27,857 


Folsom 


87,879 


6,077 


81 ,802 








Hollister 


149,211 





149,211 





Totals 


664,781 


163,755 


417,955 


27,51 5 I 55,556 



Page A7-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 8 



APPENDIX 8: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES for WATER QUALITY - CALIFORNIA 



The following is a listing of water quality best management practices for grazing on privately- 
owned rangelands in California. It is taken from Appendix C of the California Rangeland 
Water Quality Management Plan adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board in 
July 1995. 



APPENDIX C: DETAIL ON MANAGEMENT PRACTICES 

Best Management Practice, Management Measures, and Management Practices 

The term "best" is subject to interpretation and point of view. In recognition of this, the 
Coastal Zone Act Re-authorization Amendment uses the new terms "management measures" 
and "management practices": 

Best Management Practice (BMP) "is a practice or combination of practices that is 
determined by a state to be the most effective means of preventing or reducing the 
amount of pollution generated by non-point sources to a level compatible with water 
quality goals" (Federal Clean Water Act, 1977). 

Management measures are goals for management of non-point source pollution for a 
state basin, watershed, or ranch. They describe what we want to happen in the long- 
term and they should be linked to impaired beneficial uses of water. An example of a 
ranch management measure might be to "increase streambank vegetation along the 
portion of Deer Creek that runs through the ranch." Under voluntary compliance these 
goals or management measures are determined by the rancher. If voluntary 
compliance is unsuccessful, the regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) may 
require specific management measures and/or practices. 

Management Practices applied alone or in combination address the goals stated as 
management measures. 

Developing Management Practices 

Ranchers: Many of the range management practices currently used by ranchers and range 
managers will become water quality management practices. Water quality management 
practices should be planned and applied just like any other business decision on a ranch. 
Management practices must be technically and economically feasible. 

Professionals: Management practices can be designed by range management professionals 
using the most technically sound research and management information available. For that 
reason, as technology, environmental or financial conditions change, management practices 
should be updated to reflect those changes. 

Regional Water Quality Control Boards: EPA delegates water quality regulations including 
management measures and practices to the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB). 

Page A8-1 



Appendix 8 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Legally, a practice must be certified by the SWRCB. The SWRCB may delegate this authority 
to the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB). They may accept the practices in 
the SCS Field Office Technical Guides or they may require management practices unique to 
the situation under Tier Three enforcement. Prior to Tier Three, the Porter-Cologne Water 
Quality Control Act prohibits the RWQCB from requiring specific practices; they may only 
require that standards be met. 

Field Office Technical Guides: The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly 
SCS) has conducted a program of voluntary soil and water conservation planning with private 
landowners and resource managers for over 50 years. The NRCS relies upon a Technical 
Guide, localized to the geographic area of a Field Office, and a National Planning Manual as 
guides for technical assistance. The Field Office Technical Guides may be revised as needs 
and techniques change. 

Implementation of Management Practices 

The rancher may seek technical assistance from UC Cooperative Extension, USDA Natural 
Resource Conservation Service, Resource Conservation Districts or other agencies to help 
identify water quality problems, develop management statements of water quality goals or 
objectives and select management practices. The amount or extent to which a practice is 
applied must be consistent with national, state and basin water quality goals and should 
reflect the relative contribution of that type of land use activity toward water quality problems 
within the basin. This technical assistance will result in a plan, typically known as ranch plan 
or conservation plan. Because writing a ranch plan is the landowner's first tangible step in 
voluntarily reducing non-point pollution sources, ranch planning is listed as the first 
management practice in the next section. 

Management Practices for California Rangelands 

Following are example management practices suitable for California's privately owned 
rangelands. Additional practices, which may apply to water quality protection but are not 
listed here are found in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide and may be of use to and 
individual situation. The number in parentheses refers to the practice number in the NRCS 
Field Office Technical 
Guide. 

1. RANCH PLAN: The goal of maintaining or improving the quality of water should be 
included in ranch management plans for livestock operations. Ranch water quality goals 
need to be linked to water quality problems (impaired beneficial uses) identified by the 
Regional Water Quality Control Boards for the local basin or sub-basin. Ranch plans may 
follow several formats. 

* Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Planning 

* UCCE Ranch Planning Short Course Outline 

* Holistic Resource Management 



Page A8-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 8 



* Any organized planning process conducted by the landowners, agencies or private 

consultants 

Appendix B outlines the contents of ranch plans that address water quality as well as other 
aspects of the ranch operation. 



2. GRAZING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: Prescribed grazing may be achieved by 
controlling season, intensity, frequency and distribution of grazing. 

2.1 Prescribed Grazing (528A) The controlled harvest of vegetation with grazing or 
browsing animals managed with the intent to achieve a specified objective, such as: 

* Improve or maintain the health and vigor of selected plants and to maintain a stable 
and desired plant community 

* Provide or maintain food, cover and shelter for animals of concern 

* Improve or maintain animal health and productivity 

* Maintain or improve water quality and quantity 

* Reduce accelerated soil erosion and maintain or improve soil condition 

2.2 Use Exclusion (472) Use exclusion of animals, people or vehicles from an area to 
protect, maintain, or improve the quantity and quality of the plant, animal, soil, air, water and 
aesthetic resources and human health (and) safety. 



3. STRUCTURAL RANGE IMPROVEMENTS: Structural range improvements may be used to 
facilitate proper grazing use. These practices should be planned, constructed, and utilized in 
a manner to enhance or maintain water quality. These practices should be linked in the 
ranch plan to proper grazing use, and other ranch water quality goals. 

3.1 Access Roads (560) Roads constructed to provide access to farms, ranches and fields, 
used for moving livestock, produce, equipment and supplies and to provide access for 
management of ranch resources. 

3.2 Fencing (382) Enclosing or dividing an area of land with a suitable permanent structure 
that acts as a barrier to livestock, big game, or people (does not include temporary fences). 
Fencing may protect riparian areas which act as sediment traps and filters along water 
channels and impoundments. 

3.3 Grade Stabilization (41 0) A structure used to stabilize the grade and control erosion in 
natural or artificial channels, to prevent the formation and advance of gullies, and to enhance 
environmental quality and reduce pollution hazards. 



Page A8-3 



Appendix 8 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



3.4 Pipelines (516) Pipeline installed for conveying water for livestock or for recreation. 
Pipelines may decrease sediment, nutrient, organic, and bacteria pollution from livestock by 
providing water sources other than streams and lakes. 

3.5 Ponds (378) A water impoundment made by constructing a dam or an embankment or 
by excavation of a pit or dugout. Ponds -may provide alternate water sources away from (a) 
stream. Ponds are often used in conjunction with pipelines and troughs and tanks. Ponds 
may trap nutrients and sediment which wash into the basin. 

3.6 Sediment Basins (350) A basin constructed to collect and store debris or sediment. 
Sediment basins will remove sediment and associated materials and other debris from the 
water which is passed downstream. Stockwater ponds often act as sediment basins. 

3.7 Spring Development (574) Improving springs and seeps by excavating, cleaning, 
capping, or providing collection and storage facilities. There will be negligible long-term water 
quality impacts with spring developments. Erosion and sedimentation may occur from any 
disturbed areas during and immediately after construction, but should be short-lived. The 
stream source will usually be fenced. 

3.8 Stock Trails or Walkways (575) A livestock trail or walkway constructed to improve 
grazing distribution and access to forage and water. This practice may be used to reduce 
livestock concentration, facilitate proper grazing use and (implement) planned grazing 
systems. 

3.9 Streambank Protection (580) Using vegetation or structures to stabilize and protect 
banks of streams, lakes, estuaries, or excavated channels against scour and erosion. 

3.10 Troughs and Tanks (614) Installation of a trough or tank may facilitate improved 
distribution of livestock. Troughs and tanks are often an effective means of providing stock 
water away from streams. 

3.11 Landslide Treatments (453) Treatments to prevent or stabilize landslides to protect life 
and property and to prevent excessive erosion and sedimentation. 

3.12 Well (642) A well may be constructed or improved to provide stockwater away from 
streams and other critical areas. As a new water source it will improve livestock distribution. 

3.1 3 Stream Crossing (Interim) A stabilized area to provide access across a stream for 
livestock and farm machinery. The purpose is to provide a controlled crossing or watering 
access point for livestock along with access for farm equipment. 

4. LAND TREATMENTS: Land treatments to manage vegetation, practices to reduce erosion 
or improve wildlife habitat should be planned, implemented and maintained to minimize 
adverse impacts on water quality. 

4.1 Brush Management (314) Managing and manipulating stands of brush (and weeds) on 
forest, range, pasture land by mechanical, chemical, or biological means or by prescribed 
burning. The purpose of brush management is to increase ground cover, reduce fire hazard, 

Page A8-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 8 



improve water quality in the long term, improve forage production and quality, increase runoff 
and other objectives depending on landowner goals. Brush management may temporarily 
impair water quality by increasing sediment yields because of soil disturbances and reduced 
vegetative cover. 

4.2 Prescribed Burning (338) Applying fife to predetermined areas under conditions for 
which the intensity and spread of the fire are controlled. Prescribed burning is a brush 
management practice. 

4.3 Critical Area Planting (342) Planting vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, or 
legumes, on highly erodible or critically eroding areas. (Does not include tree planting mainly 
for wood products.) This practice may reduce soil erosion and sediment delivery to surface 
waters. During grading, seedbed preparation, seeding, and mulching, sediment may impair 
surface water quality prior to plant establishment. 

4.4 Range Seeding (550) Establishing adapted plants by seeding on native grazing land. 
(Range does not include pasture and hayland planting.) Increased erosion and sediment 
yield may occur during the establishment of this practice. This is a temporary situation which 
diminishes when the reseeded area becomes established. 

4.5 Grazing Mechanical Treatments (548) Renovating, contour furrowing, pitting or chiseling 
native grazing land by mechanical means to improve plant cover and water quality by 
aerating the soil, increasing infiltration and available moisture, reducing erosion and 
protecting low lying land or structures from siltation. 

4.6 Stream Corridor Improvement (204) Restoration of a modified or damaged stream to a 
more natural state using bioengineering techniques to protect the banks, and to re-establish 
the riparian vegetation. It does not apply to short reaches of stream that should be treated 
by Practice 580 (Streambank Protection) or Practice 584 (Stream Channel Stabilization). 

4.7 Wildlife Wetland Habitat Management (644) or Woodland Development or Restoration 

Retaining, creating or managing woodland habitat for wildlife. The construction or restoration 
of a woodland facility to provide the hydrologic and biologic benefits of a wetland. 

4.8 Wildlife -- Upland Habitat Management (645) Creating, maintaining or enhancing areas 
for food and cover for upland wildlife. 



5. LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: Livestock management practices such (as) 
animal health, feeding and salting should be done in a manner to protect water quality. 

5.1 Livestock Parasite Control ( ) Livestock health and other management practices used 
to reduce parasites and pathogens. 

5.2 Supplemental Feeding and Salting ( ) Feeding practices that minimize livestock 
concentration near water bodies and facilitate more uniform livestock distribution. 



Page A8-5 



Appendix 8 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



6. FACILITY SITING/DESIGN CRITERIA: Not included as an NRCS practice, but involves 
the consideration of the location and/or design of feeding, working, holding, chemical storage 
and shipping facilities in proper proximity for water quality protection. 



Page A8-6 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 9 



APPENDIX 9: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES for WATER QUALITY - NEVADA 



The following is a listing of water quality best management practices for grazing on 
rangelands in Nevada from Chapter 7 of their grazing management plan. They were adopted 
by the State of Nevada on December 7, 1 994. 



LIVESTOCK 

BMP 7-8 
PLANNED GRAZING SYSTEM 



DEFINITION 



A livestock/wildlife grazing system in which two or more grazing units are alternately deferred 
or rested from grazing in a planned sequence over a period of years. The rest period may 
vary in duration given the specifics of the grazing area (ie. season, year, etc.). 

PURPOSE 

1 . To maintain or improve plant cover, plant composition and forage production while 
properly using the forage on all grazing units 

2. To improve efficiency of grazing by uniform use of all parts of each grazing unit. 

3. To provide a supply of forage throughout the grazing season. 

4. To improve the quality of forage available to animals during specific seasons. 

5. To protect watershed, reduce runoff and sedimentation for the improvement of surface 
and ground water quality. 

6. To improve wildlife habitat. 
APPLICABILITY 

Applies to native grazing lands, including those treated by spraying, seeding, etc., grazable 
woodlands and grazed wildlife lands. Grazing management may be applied to a single 
grazing unit and may be adequate to meet water quality objectives where proper grazing use 
and uniform distribution can be obtained. 

PLANNING CRITERIA 

The grazing system plan should: 

1 . Consider the climate, soils, range sites, present vegetative conditions, topography and 
other ecological conditions. 



Page A9-1 



Appendix 9 Rangeiand Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



2. Allow forage use allocation for livestock and wildlife. 

3. Be coordinated among all effected interest and natural resources. A "watershed" view 
should be established to identify all of the resources and interests. The coordinated 
approach should include federal land management agencies, state agencies, private 
land owners, other grazing users and applicable special interest groups. A variety of 
Resource Management and/or grazing systems are available given the specifics of the 
site including Holistic Resource Management, Coordinated Resource Management, 
and Savory Grazing Systems, to mention a few. 

4. Consider specific management measures to alleviate livestock distribution problems 
such as concentrated use of riparian areas or other critical areas. 

5. Should consider the kinds of livestock and the operator's objectives in conjunction 
with the federal land management objectives if the plan involves public lands. 

6. Allow for practical application of the system and be flexible enough to meet the needs 
of key plant species and communities in relation to climatic fluctuations. 

7. Consider the facilities needed for proper distribution and uniform use of grazing units 
such as fences, stock water developments, stock trails, access roads, salt, and 
supplemental feeding stations. 

8. Provide for prolonged drought or other unusual circumstances. A monitoring plan 
should be included which monitors plant species use and condition with respect to 
the desired condition. 

9. Consider economic costs in relation to the benefits expected from the entire system. 

METHODS AMD MATERIALS 

1 . Grazing Management Systems - Appropriate grazing management systems ensure 
proper grazing use by adjusting grazing intensity and duration to reflect the availability 
of forage and feed designated for livestock uses, and by controlling animal movement 
through the operating unit of range or pasture. Practices that accomplish this include: 

A. Deferred grazing - usually is defined as the postponing or resting of livestock 
grazing on an area for a prescribed period to provide for plant reproduction, 
establishment of new plants, or restoration of vigor to existing plants. 

B. Deferred-rotation grazing - Provides for a systematic rotation of deferment among 
two or more units. 

C. Rest-rotation grazing - Provides for adequate rest to restore and maintain plant 
vigor, reduced trampling of mature seeds after plant maturity, and establishment of 
seedlings. Grazing and rest are systematically rotated until all pastures within the 
system have received treatment. Rest periods may be throughout the year, during the 
growing season of key plant species or may include one full year of rest. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 9 



2. Livestock Distribution - Proper distribution of livestock is needed for the efficient and 
uniform use of each grazing unit. A livestock operator can implement the 
management practice of herding or moving livestock when the desired plant use has 
been attained in a given area: 

A. Fencing - Fences are usually required for livestock control and to divide ranges 
into grazing units of near equal capacity. Fences are also needed to exclude livestock 
form sensitive or critical areas. (See Appendix G-5 for fencing guidelines and 
specifications) 

B. Stockwater Developments - It is essential to provide adequate water for livestock 
within reasonable distance of the grazing areas. Implementation of an improved 
grazing system often concentrates livestock requiring development of new or higher 
capacity watering facilities. In some applications water alone can be controlled to 
move livestock form one area to another. 

There are several methods of developing stock water, including: 

(1) Spring developments - Improving springs and seeps by excavating, 
cleaning, capping or providing collection and storage facilities 

(2) Wells - Constructed or improved to meet the needs of livestock and 
wildlife. 

(3) Stockwater ponds and dugouts - A water impoundment made by 
constructing a dam or an embankment, or by excavation of a pit or 
dugout. 

(4) Pipelines, trough or tank - Pipeline to convey water to areas with no 
water source and a trough or tank for storage. 

(5) Photovoltaic pumping systems. 

(6) Ram pumps. 

(7) Windmills. 

C. Stock Trails - May be needed where natural or man-made barriers limit access and 
movement of grazing animals. (See Appendix G-4 for guidelines and specifications for 
stock trails). 

D. Salt, IVSineral and Feed Supplement Locations - These need to be properly placed 
for good distribution of grazing animals throughout each grazing unit. They may be 
placed in light use areas away from water. 

3. Access - It is necessary to have good access to all grazing areas for livestock 
management and to service and maintain facilities. Refer to NRS 535.010 on permit 
requirements for stock watering ponds and dams. 



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Appendix 9 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



MAINTENANCE 

Proper grazing will maintain enough live vegetation and litter cover to protect the soil from 
erosion; will achieve riparian and other resource objectives; and will maintain or improve the 
quality, quantity and age distribution of desirable vegetation. Maintain fences and other 
facilities for efficient operations. Follow prtiper grazing use, that is, grazing at an intensity 
that will maintain plant cover and maintain or improve the quantity and quality of desirable 
vegetation. Adjust system plans based on inspection and records of utilization. 

EFFECTIVENESS 

A properly operated grazing system provides for efficient use of forage and is an effective 
means of maintaining a plant cover that will reduce runoff and sediment delivery. How 
effective grazing management will be is dependent upon both the quality of the design in 
relation to the land and the skill utilized to implement, monitor and adjust management to 
meet objectives. 



BMP 7-9 
PROPER GRAZING USE 



DEFINITION 



Utilizing grazing practices at an intensity which will maintain enough cover to protect the soil 
and maintain or improve the quantity and quality of desirable vegetation. 

PURPOSE 

To improve or maintain the condition of plant species or community; to improve vegetative 
ground cover, and to maintain or improve the quality of surface runoff water on upland areas. 
In riparian areas, the purpose is to provide minimum vegetation stubble height to slow runoff, 
trap sediment, and ensure adequate root mass to hold banks during spring run off events. 

APPLICABILITY 

On all rangeland, woodland, pasture land, wetlands, riparian areas, and cropland utilized for 
livestock or wildlife grazing. 

PLANNING CRITERIA 

Specific grazing or allotment plans should consider the following: 

1 . Grazing frequency; 

2. Stocking rates and distribution; 

3. Class and age of livestock, wildlife or free roaming horses or burros; 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 9 



4. Season of forage use and the duration of each rest and grazing 
period; 

5. Historic and/or prior livestock distribution problems including areas with 
concentrated use or overuse and areas where forage has remained unused; 

6. Manger preferences for plant species, the abundance of those species and the 
forage use allocation for livestock, wildlife or free roaming horses and burros; 

7. The grazing system being used; 

8. Physical terrain limitations; access and water sources; 

9. Desired vegetation in riparian and/or critical areas is of significant importance 
to wildlife, fisheries and watershed function; and, 

10. Other public land users. 

The importance of climate and weather patterns must also be recognized with a certain 
flexibility provided for extreme variations in amounts of forage from year to year. 

The best measure of proper use and management is the response of the range over a period 
of time to a comprehensive management system. An experienced range manager can 
recognize the signs of response and the range trend. Management decisions should then be 
based upon sound scientific data and analysis. 

METHODS AND MATERIALS 

Consult with a qualified range management professional in either the private or public sector 
before establishing a grazing management system. The following are key elements for proper 
grazing use. 

1 . Use a comprehensive data form that provides a use record of key forage species each 
year or grazing season. 

2. Keep a record for each grazing unit and make evaluations of use in representative 
areas of each unit based on species composition and normal grazing patterns in the 
unit (See Appendix G-3). 

3. Maintain a photographic record of range conditions at established photo points. 
MAINTENANCE 

Maintain proper use by adjusting grazing as indicated by plant response and trend in range 
condition. 



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Appendix 9 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



EFFECTIVENESS 

Proper grazing use will improve range production and vegetative cover to reduce runoff and 
sediment delivery. 



BMP 7-10 
RANGE IMPROVEMENTS 



DEFINITION 



Improving the existing rangeland through specific treatments including seeding, planting, 
prescribed burning, and brush/weed management. 

PURPOSE 

To improve watershed quality, conserve soil and water resources and reduce sediment 
delivery; produce forage for livestock and wildlife; improve plant species diversity; and 
improve recreation, wildlife and the natural resource values of the land. 

APPLICABILITY 

Applies to grazing lands where the land does not have enough desired plant species diversity 
to recover in a reasonable period by management alone; where existing vegetation would out 
compete introduced plant materials; following wildfires or brush management treatment, and 
where soil, climate, and topography are suitable for establishment of the desired plant 
community. 

PLANNING CRITERIA 

Compile the necessary base line data to determine the specific range improvement best 
suited for the site. Consultation with a qualified range management professional in the private 
or public sector is recommended. 

1 . Determine site suitability for seeding or containerized planting - slope, soils, elevation, 
available moisture, etc. 

2. Select species for seeding or planting that are adapted to the site. Mixtures of 
grasses, forbs, shrubs, etc. are better than single species plantings on most sites. 

3. Determine the requirements for acceptable methods of site preparation, soil 
amendments, planting or seeding. 

METHODS AND MATERIALS 

The following practices can be utilized to improve rangelands (See Appendix G). 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 9 



Pasture and Hayland Plantings - Establishing and reestablishing long-term stands of 
adapted species of perennial, biannual, or reseeding forage plants. 

Range Seeding - Establishing adapted plants by seeding on native grazing land. 

1 . On tillable land, the soil should be tilled with a rangeland plow, chisel plow, or one- 
way disk. Depth should be as shallow as possible while still eliminating competing 
vegetation. Double plow if necessary. Perform operations across the slope or on the 
contour. 

2. Pitting or contour furrowing may be used in special situations where complete tillage is 
not practical or desired, or where other tillage methods would create serious erosion 
hazards. Chain drags can be used where plowing is not feasible. 

3. Tillage operations should leave as much plant residue on the soil surface as possible 
for seeding protection, moisture conservation and erosion control. 

4. Seed with a rangeland drill or, on well-prepared seed beds, a grain drill equipped with 
agitator and depth regulators. Broadcast seed only on areas that are too rocky or 
where seeding is not practical for other reasons. 

5. Fall or early winter seedings are best. Spring seedings can be used on small areas or 
sites that remain wet and cold into late spring. (See Cooperative Extension 
Publication C-183for species, mixtures, and seeding rates.) 

Critical Area Planting - Planting vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses or legumes 
on highly erodible or critically eroding areas. 

Brush and Weed Management - Managing and manipulating stands of brush and weeds on 
range, pasture and other areas by mechanical, chemical, biological means or be prescribed 
burning (See Appendix G-7). 

Prescribed Burning - Applying fire to predetermined areas when the intensity and spread of 
the fire are controlled. (See BMP 6-6, "Prescribed Use of Fire"). 

MAINTENANCE 

1 . Seedings must not be grazed until the plants are well established. Usually it is 
necessary to protect seedings from grazing for one full year and through the growing 
season of the second year. Some seedings established during adverse weather 
cycles may need protection for a longer period. 

2. After seedings are established, follow established grazing management practices. 
(See BMP 7-9, "Proper Grazing Use" and BMP 7-8, "Planned Grazing System"). 

EFFECTIVENESS 

Well established and managed range seedings protect watersheds from excessive runoff, 
reduce runoff, reduce erosion and sediment delivery. 

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Appendix 9 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



BMP 7-1 1 
LIVESTOCK FACILITIES 

DEFINITION 

Livestock containment facilities are structures built or used to hold livestock, including but not 
limited to: corrals, holding pens, feed lots, barns and sheds. 

PURPOSE 

To reduce the degradation of surface runoff water quality and the potential to contaminate 
ground water resources resulting from the confinement of livestock. 

APPLICABILITY 

Applicable to areas where livestock are concentrated, such as horse corrals, feed yards, and 
holding pens. Runoff and leachate from these facilities can be high in nutrients from animal 
feeds and manure and create water quality problems especially if located near a streamside 
management area (SMA) or areas with a high water table. 

PLANNING CRITERIA 

The siting and construction of livestock containment facilities is important and sites should be 
carefully chosen based on the following guidelines. 

1 . Facilities should not be located in or near a SMA. 

2. Facilities should not be located in areas subject to overland surface flow or flooding 
from upslope areas. 

3. Facilities should be located on gently sloping to flat land (5% slope or less). 

4. Facilities should not be located in areas which have less than four feet from the soil 
surface to the ground water table at any time of the year or areas having a high 
leaching potential. 

In addition to the proper location of livestock confinement facilities, the following guidelines 
should be followed: 

1 . Surface runoff and related discharges from livestock containment facilities should be 
limited by: 

Storing both the facility waste water and the runoff from confined animal 
facilities that is caused by storms up to and including a 25-year, 24 hour 
frequency storm. Storage structures should: 

a. Have a compacted clay seal or plastic membrane lining, or 

b. Be constructed with concrete, or 

c. Be a storage tank. 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 9 



* Managing stored runoff and accumulated solids from the facility through an 

appropriate waste utilization system. 

2. Surface runoff from these facilities or animal waste stockpile should not be allowed to 
flow into a SMA. 

3. Stockpiling of animal waste should be thoroughly investigated for the potential to 
degrade the soil profile and ground water resources. Any runoff or drainage from 
animal waste stockpiles or the facility area should be routed to the runoff storage 
system. 

4. Manure storage or animal waste piles should be protected from precipitation and 
surface runoff. 

5. When applied to agricultural lands, manure, stored runoff water, stored facility waste 
water, and accumulated solids from the facility are to be applied utilizing appropriate 
nutrient management measures. An appropriate waste utilization system to 
minimize impacts to surface water and to protect ground water may be achieved 
through implementation of the SCS Waste Utilization Practice (633). 

6. Anaerobic ponds can be used to reduce odors and solids, improve water quality and 
generate methane gas. 

METHODS AND MATERIALS 

Livestock confinement facilities should be located, designed, and constructed under the 
direction of qualified professionals. If the facility is to be served by vehicle, the site should 
have loading-unloading areas that are outside of SMAs. 

MAINTENANCE 

A comprehensive inspection and maintenance program should be developed based upon the 
specifics of the site. Inspections should be conducted regularly, particularly after precipitation 
or storm events and repairs made as required. 

EFFECTIVENESS 

Properly maintained and operated facilities can be effective in preventing the discharge of 
degraded surface runoff and minimize ground water quality degradation. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 10 



APPENDIX 10: DRAFT WATER QUALITY PLAN 



The following text is the grazing portion of the draft Water Quality Plan being developed for 
approval by the State of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Upon 
approval of this plan, the State will enter into a Management Agency Agreement with BLM, 
formally recognizing BLM as a Designated Management Agency to manage non-point source 
water quality pollution activities on public lands under the Clean Water Act. 

The text follows: 



E. GRAZING MANAGEMENT 

BACKGROUND: 

BLM is responsible for the authorization and administration of domestic livestock grazing use 
on those public lands available for that use in designated grazing allotments. In addition, BLM 
is responsible for the management and welfare of wild horses and burros (WHB) in 
established herd management areas. In some areas of public land the grazing by livestock 
and wild horses and burros overlap. 

The types of activities related to grazing management administered by BLM include the 
identification as to what areas may be grazed and the terms and conditions for grazing use, 
the enforcement for compliance with the terms and conditions as issued in permits and 
leases to livestock operators, the monitoring of rangeland conditions as influenced by 
livestock grazing activities and WHBs, the planning and implementation of grazing 
management prescriptions, the planning, development and/or authorization of range 
improvement structural and vegetative management projects (see Management Practices 
sections A. and B.), the identification of WHB herd areas, identification and management of 
population levels of WHBs within the herd areas and overseeing the welfare and habitat 
conditions for WHBs. 



MANAGEMENT MEASURES 

A. Grazing Management Measures identified under the CZARA (Guidance page 2-73) 
appropriate to the management of public lands by BLM are as follows: 

Protect range, pasture and other grazing lands: 

By implementing one or more of the following to protect sensitive areas (such as 

streambanks, wetlands, estuaries, ponds, lakes shores and riparian zones): 

(a) Exclude livestock, (b) Provide stream crossings or hardened watering access for 
drinking, (c) Provide alternate drinking water locations, (d) Locate salt and additional 
shade, if needed, away from sensitive areas, or (e) Use improved grazing management 
(e.g., herding) 

to reduce the physical disturbance and reduce direct loading of animal waste and 
sediment caused by livestock. 



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Appendix 10 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



The Management Measure (Part (2)(b) further identifies as means to achieve the above 
non-privately owned lands is to " Maintain range, pasture, and other grazing lands in 
accordance with activity plans established by either the Bureau of Land Management of the 
U.S. Department of the Interior or the Forest Service USDA." 



B. The SWRCB in 1 995 accepted the California Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan 
as the State's plan for managing privately owned rangelands in California for grazing-related 
non-point source pollution. This plan also identified as a management approach to encourage 
the coordination and participation where appropriate with BLM activity plans in developing 
water quality management strategies. The SWRCB adopted as a measure in Resolution No. 
95-43 'To provide continuing coordination and consistency between the rangeland 
management program on federal and non-federal lands, staff should participate in the U.S. 
Bureau of Land Management (USBLM) "Healthy Rangelands for all uses" process currently 
underway." This management plan suggested that management practices to be implemented 
could be those from a list of selected practices found in the Natural Resource Conservation 
Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guides. 

C. The Secretary of the Interior directed through regulations issued February 12, 1995 (43 
CFR 41 80) that each BLM State Director develop standards and guidelines for rangeland 
health. The Fundamentals of Rangeland Health as identified in the regulations includes as 
one of the conditions that "Water quality complies with State water quality standards and 
achieves, or is making significant progress toward achieving, established BLM management 
objectives such as meeting wildlife needs". The regulations further state that the standards 
must address water quality and that guidelines must address maintaining, restoring or 
enhancing water quality to meet management objectives. The State Director developed the 
following standards and guidelines relating to water quality for rangeland health for northern 
and central California. These standards and guidelines were approved for further 

implementation by the Secretary of the Interior on . Rangeland health 

standards and guidelines for the public lands in southern California will be developed later, 
but must address water quality concerns and meet state standards. 

The Rangeland Standards and Guidelines identified for water quality on public rangelands in 
northern and central California are as follows: 
[to be added later when approved] 



MANAGEMENT PRACTICES 

The following is a list of established practices to select from for protecting, maintaining or 
enhancing water quality from the influences of grazing activities. 

The practices selected for any given situation depend on the specific conditions and needs of 
the area relative to water quality. 

1 . Determine the level of grazing use which includes setting limits as to stocking levels in 
numbers of animals to be grazed for specified periods for given grazing allotments or portions 
of grazing allotments. In some instances this may also be further managed by implementing 
specified grazing utilization level limits on specific forage species or types of plant 
communities. On annual grasslands specific levels of residual vegetation are to remain on the 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 1 



land after the grazing activity is completed for the season in order to protect the soils from 
erosion. 

2. Establish the proper season of use that an area is to be grazed to meet management 
objectives. 

3. Determine the kind and class of livestock to graze compatible with meeting management 
objectives. 

4. Implement grazing management prescriptions, with adequate periods of rest from grazing 
to meet management objectives. 

5. Develop management strategies to re-distribute grazing pressure away from sensitive 
areas, such as riparian areas and streams. These techniques may include fencing, herding, 
placement of alternate watering sites/facilities, placement of salt and mineral supplements and 
or developing alternate shade sources away from riparian and stream areas, rotating livestock 
concentration use areas, such as bedding grounds and gathering areas. 

6. Placement and design of range improvement structures such as watering facilities, fences, 
trails, and roads will be in such a matter as to minimize concentrations of livestock use near 
areas subject to discharge of sediments and animal waste to water bodies. In situations 
where livestock are forced to concentrate at or near a stream, such as a water gap or stream 
crossing, these areas will be located and designed to stabilize conditions as much as 
possible and minimize sedimentation and effluent from the livestock activities, including 
hardening surfaces where feasible and limiting access points. 

7. Establish the appropriate population levels for WHBs to sustain healthy viable herds and 
maintain populations within these levels. 

8. Develop and implement techniques to minimize non-point source pollution discharge from 
the influences of WHBs and associated activities within the scope provided through the Wild 
and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. 

9. Land treatments to manage vegetation such as prescribed fire, mechanical removal and/or 
surface manipulation, use of herbicides, and biological control techniques such as the use of 
biological agents or grazing will be used to modify undesirable vegetation communities, 
including the control of noxious weeds. The design and implementation of these treatments 
will be in such a manner as to minimize any adverse effects to water quality from soil erosion 
or the transportation of pesticides into the water bodies. 



Implementation: 

The implementation of needed management practices will be incorporated as terms and 
conditions for grazing authorizations for each allotment. The needs for any changes to current 
management will be determined based on evaluations of monitoring information for meeting 
rangeland health standards. Once a determination that there is a need for change in 
management practices to protect or enhance water quality, the change in practice(s) will be 
initiated no later then the start of the next grazing season. 

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Appendix 10 Rangeiand Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



The management practices selected will result from consultations with the livestock 
permittee/lessee and other interested parties. Cooperative and collaborative arrangements in 
determining and implementing needed changes will first be sought among all interested 
parties. When these methods fail to determine needed management strategies that will 
achieve the desired results, then the BLM will need to mandate any terms and conditions if all 
collaborative avenues have been exhausted. Examples of collaborative methods may be in 
the form of Allotment Management Plans, Coordinated Resource Management Plans, 
Integrated Management Plans, etc. or it may be limited to merely an agreement between BLM 
and the grazing permittee/lessee. Due to the time necessary to develop adequate 
collaborative management efforts, it may be necessary for the BLM to mandate the initial 
management measures that are needed for implementation by the next grazing season after a 
needed change has been identified. Follow-up long-term management strategies may then be 
developed through a more collaborated process. 

The terms and conditions of a grazing permit or lease, identify the specific limitations or 
prescriptions as to how the allotment may be grazed. Normally these include the number and 
kind of livestock that can be grazed for a specific time period on the allotment. Also for many 
allotments additional specific terms and conditions will be given for grazing use thresholds; 
such as percent utilization on vegetation or specific plant species, stubble heights, residual 
dry matter; prescribed grazing systems and on and off dates; and special conditions such as 
location of salting areas, bedding grounds, etc.. Specific measures to ensure protection from 
pollution of water bodies will also be included. In some instances the terms and conditions 
will remain the same on a long-term basis, year after year, whereas others may be short-term 
and may change from one grazing season to the next. In any case, close communications will 
be made between the BLM and grazing permittee/lessee as to the specifics needed and the 
purpose of the requirements, including those measures needed to improve water quality. 
Many of the ranchers are now well aware of water quality concerns, both obtained through 
experiences with their operations and as education received through efforts given through the 
Cooperative Extension Service, California Cattlemen's Association, Natural Resource 
Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, etc.. BLM, either independently or jointly with other 
agencies and groups, will provide for workshops and training opportunities for grazing 
permittees to become more acquainted with management and monitoring techniques in 
managing for water quality with livestock grazing. BLM will encourage those permittees and 
lessees interested, to help participate in the development of management measures and the 
follow-up monitoring for water quality concerns for their respective grazing allotment. 

Monitoring for both performance and resource conditions will be done by BLM, usually 
annually, at least, for most allotments. Specific monitoring may be required to assess 
changes in water quality, including water sampling or measuring other attributes that influence 
water quality such as the condition of riparian habitat, stream morphology, fisheries, etc. The 
parameters needed for each situation on each allotment will vary depending on the specific 
needs for the resources in the specific area. Monitoring information will the be used to assess 
if management objectives are being met and what changes, if any, may be needed in order to 
meet them. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines E1S 



Appendix 1 1 



APPENDIX 11: SPECIAL STATUS PLANT SPECIES 



Appendix 1 1 shows the 1 49 special status plant species that are known to occur on BLM 
lands within the project area. Thirteen of these species are federally listed (10 endangered, 3 
threatened) and 23 are state-listed (15 endangered, 3 threatened, and 9 rare). 

Codes for the table are as follows: 

Status: FE = Federal Endangered; FT = Federal Threatened; FC = Federal Candidate; PE = 
Proposed Federal Endangered; PT = Proposed Federal Threatened; CE = California 
Endangered; CT = California Threatened; CR = California Rare; BLMS = BLM Sensitive. 

Effects of Livestock Grazing: UG = Ungrazed (i.e., not in an active grazing allotment); G = 
Grazed (i.e., within an active grazing allotment); Neutral = Although within an active grazing 
alloment, the species does not seem to respond either positively or negatively to grazing (this 
can also be because the species is in areas of allotments that are not frequented by 
livestock); Negative = Species is negatively impacted by livestock grazing, at least in a 
portion of its occurrence(s) on BLM lands; Positive = Species appears to benefit from 
grazing, at least in a portion of its occurrence(s) on BLM lands; ? = Effects of livestock 
grazing are unknown. A species can be both negatively and positively affected by livestock 
grazing depending on the timing of the grazing. For those species so indicated below, 
grazing during the active growing season of the species is considered negative, but grazing 
following the growing season is considered positive because it reduces the amount of 
residual dry matter and the resulting competition from tall growing annual grasses. 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Pink sand-verbena 

Abronia umbel lata ssp. brevi flora 


BLMS 


Areata 


UG 


Jepson's onion 
Allium jepsonii 


BLMS 


Folsom 


UG 


Spanish Needle onion 
Allium shevockii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Rawhide Hill onion 
Allium tuolumnense 


PT 


Folsom 


G, Negative (but 
only in a small 
portion of range) 


Dimorphic snapdragon 
Antirrhinum subcordatum 


BLMS 


Clear Lake, 
Redding 


UG (Clear Lake) 
G, Neutral 
(Redding) 



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Appendix 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Bodie Hills rock cress 
Arabis bodiensis 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Neutral 


McDonald's rock-cress 
Arabis mcdonaldiana 


FE, CE 


Areata 


UG 


lone manzanita 
Arctostaphylos myrtifolia 


FC 


Folsom 


UG 


Nissenan manzanita 
Arctostaphylos nissenana 


BLMS 


Folsom 


UG 


Sand mesa manzanita 
Arctostaphylos rudis 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Field milk-vetch 
Astragalus agrestis 


BLMS 


Alturas, 
Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 


Ash Valley milk-vetch 
Astragalus anxius 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Silverleaf milk-vetch 

Astragalus argophyllus var. argophyllus 


BLMS 


Bishop, 
Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 
(Eagle Lake) 
UG (Bishop) 


Walker Pass milk-vetch 
Astragalus ertterae 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G,? 


Geyer's milk-vetch 
Astragalus geyeri var. geyeri 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Negative 


Long Valley milk-vetch 
Astragalus johannis-howellii 


CR 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Lens-pod milk-vetch 
Astragalus lentiformis 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


UG 


Fish Slough milk-vetch 

Astragalus lentiginosus var. piscinensis 


PE 


Bishop 


UG 


Mono milk-vetch 

Astragalus monoensis var. monoensis 


CR 


Bishop 


UG 


Tonopah milk-vetch 
Astragalus pseudiodanthus 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Pulsifer's milk-vetch 

Astragalus pulsiferae var. pulsiferae 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 1 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Suksdorf's milk-vetch 

Astragalus pulsiferae var. suksdorfii 


BLMS 


Alturas, 
Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 


Jepson's milk-vetch 

Astragalus rattanii var. jepsonianus 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Shevock's milk-vetch 
Astragalus shevockii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Tiehm's milk-vetch 
Astragalus tiehmii 


BLMS 


Surprise 


G, Neutral 


Heart-leaved saltbush 
Atriplex cordulata 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Lost Hills saltbush 
Atriplex vallicola 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Woolly balsamroot 
Balsamorhiza hookeri var. lanata 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Neutral 


Indian Valley brodiaea 
Brodiaea coronaria ssp. rosea 


CE 


Clear Lake, 
Redding 


UG 


Leafy reedgrass 
Calamagrostis foliosa 


CR 


Areata 


G, Neutral 


Inyo mariposa 
Calochortus excavatus 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Greene's mariposa 
Calochortus greenei 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Alkali mariposa lily 
Calochortus striatus 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Negative 


Shirley Meadows star-tulip 
Calochortus westonii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Negative 


Stebbins' morning glory 
Calystegia stebbinsii 


FE, CE 


Folsom 


UG 


San Benito evening-primrose 
Camissonia benitensis 


FT 


Hollister 


G, Negative and 
Positive (only a 
small portion of 
occurrence on 
BLM lands is 
grazed) 



Page A1 1 -3 



Appendix 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


San Luis Obispo sedge 
Carex obispoensis 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Succulent owl's clover 

Castilleja campestris ssp. succulenta 


PT.CE 


Caliente, 
Folsom 


UG (Caliente) 
UG (Folsom) 


California jewelflower 
Caulanthus californicus 


FE.CE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


UG (Caliente) 
G, Positive 
(Hollister; portion 
of habitat grazed 
only after 
flowering) 


Pine Hill ceanothus 
Ceanothus roderickii 


FE, CR 


Folsom 


UG 


Shasta chaenactis 
Chaenactis suffrutescens 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Neutral 


Red Hills soaproot 
Chlorogalum grandiflorum 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Negative (small 
portion of BLM 
occurrence 
grazed) 


Straight-awned spineflower 
Chorizanthe rectispina 


BLMS 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


UG 


Ashland thistle 
Cirsium ciliolatum 


CE 


Redding 


UG 


Surf thistle 

Cirsium rhothophilum 


FC, CT 


Caliente 


UG 


Mariposa clarkia 

Clarkia biloba ssp. australis 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Negative and 
Positive 


Shasta clarkia 

Clarkia borealis ssp. borealis 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Beaked clarkia 
Clarkia rostrata 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G,? 


Mt. Hamilton coreopsis 
Coreopsis hamiltonii 


BLMS 


Hollister 


UG 


Silky cryptantha 
Cryptantha crinita 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Neutral 



Page A1 1 -4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 1 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Schoolcraft's cryptantha 
Cryptantha schooicraftii 


BLMS 


Surprise 


G, Neutral 


Piute cypress 

Cupressus arizonica ssp. nevadensis 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G,? 


Bodie Hills cusickiella 
Cusickielia quadricostata 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Neutral 


Ornate dalea 
Dalea omata 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral? 


July gold 
Dedeckera eurekensis 


CR 


Bishop 


UG 


Kern County larkspur 
Delphinium purpusii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Recurved larkspur 
Delphinium recurvatum 


BLMS 


Hollister 


G, ? 


Kern mallow 
Eremalche kernensis 


FE 


Caliente 


UG 


Brandegee's eriastrum 
Eriastrum brandegeae 


CR 


Areata, 
Clear Lake, 
Redding 


UG (Areata, Clear 
Lake) 
G, Neutral 
(Redding) 


Hoover's woolystar 
Eriastrum hooveri 


FT 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 
(Caliente) 
G, Positive 
(Hollister) 


Blochman's leafy daisy 
Erigeron blochmaniae 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


lone buckwheat 

Eriogonum apricum var. apricum 


FC, CE 


Folsom 


UG 


Crosby's buckwheat 
Eriogonum crosbyae 


BLMS 


Surprise 


G, Negative (from 
trampling in two 
occurences only; 
overall Neutral) 


Red Mountain buckwheat 
Eriogonum kelloggii 


FC, CE 


Areata 


UG 



Page A1 1 -5 



Appendix 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Snow Mtn. buckwheat 
Eriogonum nervulosum 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Mouse buckwheat 

Eriogonum nudum var. muhnum 


BLMS 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 


Prostrate buckwheat 
Eriogonum prociduum 


BLMS 


Aituras, 
Surprise 


G, Neutral 


Temblor buckwheat 
Eriogonum temhlorense 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral (except 
negative in places 
where cattle are 
trailed) 


Humboldt Bay wallflower 
Erysimum menziesii ssp. eurekense 


FE, CE 


Areata 


UG 


Tuolumne fawn-lily 
Erythronium tuolumnense 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Neutral 


Pine Hiil flannelbush 
Fremontodendron decumbens 


FE, CR 


Folsom 


UG 


Butte County fritillary 
Fritillaria eastwoodiae 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Talus fritillary 
Fritillaria falcata 


BLMS 


Hollister 


UG 


Adobe-lily 
Fritillaria pluriflora 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


El Dorado bedstraw 

Galium californicum ssp. sierrae 


FE, CR 


Folsom 


UG 


Modoc bedstraw 

Galium glabrescens ssp. modocense 


BLMS 


Surprise 


G, Neutral 


Hardham's bedstraw 
Galium hardhamiae 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Scott Mountain bedstraw 

Galium serpenticum ssp. scotticum 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Neutral 


Mendocino gentian 
Gentiana setigera 


BLMS 


Areata 


UG 



Page A1 1 -6 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 1 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


- 
Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Boggs Lake hedge-hyssop 
Gratiola heterosepala 


CE 


Alturas, 
Folsom, 
Redding 


G, Neutral to 
Negative (Alturas) 
G, Neutral 
(Redding) 
UG (Folsom) 


Drymaria-like western flax 
Hesperolinon drymarioides 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Tehama County western flax 
Hesperolinon tehamense 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Parry's horkelia 
Horkelia parryi 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Neutral 


Sierra Valley ivesia 
Ivesia aperta var. aperta 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Negative 


Alkali ivesia 

Ivesia kingii var. kingii 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Ash Creek ivesia 
Ivesia paniculata 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Grimy ivesia 

Ivesia rhypara var. rhypara 


BLMS 


Surprise 


G, Neutral 


Webber's ivesia 
Ivesia webberi 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 


Red Bluff dwarf rush 

Juncus leiospermus var. leiospermus 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Beach layia 
Layia camosa 


FE, CE 


Areata 


UG 


Rayless tidytips 
Layia discoidea 


BLMS 


Hollister 


UG 


Pale-yellow layia 
Layia heterotricha 


BLMS 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G,? 


Jones' layia 
Layia jonesii 


BLMS 


Hollister 


UG 


Munz's tidy-tips 
Layia munzii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G,? 



Page A1 1 -7 



Appendix 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Legenere 
Legenere limosa 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


San Joaquin woolly threads 
Lembertia congdonii 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Negative and 
Positive (Caliente) 
G, Positive 
(Hollister) 


Panoche pepper-grass 
Lepidium jaredii ssp. album 


BMS 


Hollister 


G, Negative and 
Positive 


Jared's pepper-grass 
Lepidium jaredii ssp. jaredii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Cantelow's lewisia 
Lewisia cantelovii 


BLMS 


Folsom 


UG 


Sagebrush loeflingia 

Loeflingia squarrosa var. artemisiarum 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Congdon's lomatium 
Lomatium congdonii 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Negative (small 
portion of BLM 
occurrence 
grazed) 


Owens Peak lomatium 
Lomatium shevockii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Mariposa lupine 

Lupinus citrinus var. deflexus 


PE, CT 


Hollister 


UG 


Mono Lake lupine 
Lupinus duranii 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Shaggyhair lupine 
Lupinus spectabilis 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Neutral 


Hall's madia 
Madia hallii 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Stebbins's madia 
Madia stebbinsii 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Carmel Valley bush-mallow 
Malacothamnus palmeri var. involucratus 


BLMS 


Hollister 


UG 


Slender-stemmed monkeyflower 

Mimulus filicaulis 

I 


BLMS 


Folsom 


G, Neutral 



Page A1 1 -8 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 1 



I 

Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Kaweah monkeyflower 
Mimulus norrisii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Calico monkeyflower 
Mimulus pictus 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Kelso Creek monkeyflower 
Mimulus shevockii 


PE 


Caliente 


G, Negative 


Crisp monardella 
Monardella crispa 


BLMS 


Caliente 


UG 


Piute Mountains navarretia 
Navarretia setiloba 


FC 


Caliente 


G,? 


Shasta snow-wreath 
Neviusia cliftonii 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


San Joaquin Valley orcutt grass 
Orcuttia inaequalis 


PE.CE 


Folsom 


UG 


Slender orcutt grass 
Orcuttia tenuis 


PT, CE 


Alturas, 
Redding 


UG 


Little ricegrass 
Oryzopsis exigua 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 


Ahart's paronychia 
Paronychia ahartii 


BLMS 


Redding 


G,? 


Dwarf lousewort 
Pedicularis centranthera 


BLMS 


Eagle Lake 


G, Neutral 


Closed-throated beardtongue 
Penstemon personatus 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Slender pentachaeta 
Pentachaeta exilis ssp. aeolica 


BLMS 


Hollister 


G, Negative and 
Positive 


Scott Valley phacelia 
Phacelia greenei 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Negative 


Mono County phacelia 
Phacelia monoensis 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Negative 


Nine Mile Canyon phacelia 
Phacelia novenmillensis 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Negative 



Page A1 1 -9 



Appendix 1 1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Profuse-flowered pogogyne 
Pogogyne floribunda 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Modoc County knotweed 

Polygonum polygaloides ssp. esotericum 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Muir's raillardella 
Raillardiopsis muirii 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Sequoia gooseberry 
Ribes tularense 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Negative 


Hall's rupertia 
Rupertia hallii 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Sanford's arrowhead 
Sagittaria sanfordii 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Tracy's sanicle 
Sanicula tracyi 


BLMS 


Areata 


UG 


Holmgren's skullcap 
Scutellaria holmgreniorum 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Red Mountain stonecrop 
Sedum eastwoodiae 


FC 


Areata 


UG 


Canyon Creek stonecrop 
Sedum paradisum 


BLMS 


Redding 


G, Neutral 


Layne's butterweed 
Senecio layneae 


FT, CR 


Folsom 


G, Neutral 


Owens Valley checker-mallow 
Sidalcea covillei 


FC, CE 


Bishop 


UG 


Butte County checker-mallow 
Sidalcea robusta 


BLMS 


Redding 


UG 


Red Mountain campion 

Silene campanulata ssp. campanulata 


FC, CE 


Areata 


UG 


Woolly stenotus 
Stenotus lanuginosus 


BLMS 


Alturas 


G, Neutral 


Socrates Mine jewel-flower 
Streptanthus brachiatus ssp. brachiatus 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 



Page A1 1-10 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 1 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Freed 's jewelf lower 

Streptanthus brachiatus ssp. hoffmanii 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Piute Mountains jewel-flower Streptanthus 
cordatus var. piutensis 


BLMS 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Three Peaks jewelflower 
Streptanthus morrisonii ssp. elatus 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Kruckeberg's jewelflower 

Streptanthus morrisonii ssp. kruckebergii 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Morrison's jewel-flower 

Streptanthus morrisonii ssp. morrisonii 


BLMS 


Clear Lake 


UG 


Masonic Mountain jewelflower 
Streptanthus oliganthus 


BLMS 


Bishop 


G, Neutral 


Red Hills vervain 
Verbena californica 


PT, CT 


Folsom 


UG 


El Dorado mule ears 
Wyethia reticulata 


BLMS 


Folsom 


UG 



Page A1 1-11 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 12 



APPENDIX 12: SPECIAL STATUS ANIMAL SPECIES 



Appendix 1 2 shows the 43 special status animal species that are known or suspected to 
occur on BLM lands within the project area. 31 of these species are federally listed (20 
endangered, 11 threatened) and 23 are state-listed (19 endangered, 4 threatened). 

Codes for the table are as follows: 

Status: FE = Federal Endangered; FT = Federal Threatened; FC = Federal Candidate; PE = 
Proposed Federal Endangered; PT = Proposed Federal Threatened; CE = California 
Endangered; CT = California Threatened; BLMS = BLM Sensitive. 

Effects of Livestock Grazing: UG = Ungrazed (i.e., not in an active grazing allotment); G = 
Grazed (i.e., within an active grazing allotment); Neutral = Although within an active grazing 
allotment, the species does not seem to respond either positively or negatively to grazing 
(this can also be because the species is in areas of allotments that are not frequented by 
livestock); Negative = Species is negatively impacted by livestock grazing, at least in a 
portion of its occurrence(s) on BLM lands; Positive = Species appears to benefit from 
grazing, at least in a portion of its occurrence(s) on BLM lands; ? = Effects of livestock 
grazing are unknown. A species can be both negatively and positively affected by livestock 
grazing depending on the timing, location, or intensity of the grazing use. 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


San Joaquin antelope squirrel 
Ammospermophilus nelsoni 


CT 


Caliente 


G, Neutral 


Giant kangaroo rat 
Dipodomys ingens 


FE, CE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 


Fresno kangaroo rat 
Dipodomys nitratoides exilis 


FE, CE 


Caliente 


UG 


Tipton kangaroo rat 
Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides 


FE.CE 


Caliente 


G, Positive 


San Joaquin Valley woodrat 
Neotoma fuscipes riparia 


FC 


Folsom 


UG 


San Joaquin kit fox 
Vulpes macrotis mutica 


FE, CT 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Positive 


Marbled murrelet 

Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus 
I 


FT, CE 


Areata 


G, Neutral 



Page A1 2-1 



Appendix 1 2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Aleutian Canada goose 
Branta canadensis leucopareia 


FT 


Folsom 


UG 


Swainson's hawk 
Buteo swainsoni 


CT 


Folsom, 
Redding 


G, Neutral 


Mountain plover 
Charadrius montanus 


FC 


Caliente 


G, Positive 


Western yellow-billed cuckoo 
Coccyzus americanus occidentalis 


CE 


Caliente 


G, * 


Willow flycatcher 
Empidonax traillii 


CE 


Alturas, Eagle 
Lake, Folsom 


G, Negative 


Southwestern willow flycatcher 
Empidonax traillii extimus 


FE 


Caliente 


G, * 


American peregrine falcon 
Falco peregrinus anatum 


FE, CE 


Areata, 
Alturas, Clear 
Lake, Eagle 
Lake, 
Redding 


G, Neutral 


California condor 
Gymnogyps californianus 


FE, CE 


Caliente 


G, Positive (dead 
livestock are 
potential food 
source) 


Bald eagle 

Haliaeetus leucocephalus 


FT, CE 


Areata, 
Alturas, Clear 
Lake, Eagle 
Lake, 
Redding 


G, Neutral 


Inyo California (=brown) towhee 
Pipilo crissalis eremophilus 


FT, CE 


Bishop 


G, * 


Great gray owl 
Strix nebulosa 


CE 


Areata 


UG 


Northern spotted owl 
Strix occidentalis caurina 


FT 


Areata, 
Alturas, Clear 
Lake, 
Redding 


G, Neutral 



Page A1 2-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 12 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Least Bell's vireo 
Vireo bellii pusillus 


FE, CE 


Caliente 


UG 


Black legless lizard 
Anniella pulchra nigra 


PE 


Hollister 


G, Negative (only 
a small portion of 
BLM occurrence 
grazed, if any) 


Blunt-nosed leopard lizard 
Gambelia situs 


FE,CE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Positive 


Giant garter snake 
Thamnophis gigas 


FT, CT 


Folsom, 
Hollister 


UG 


California tiger salamander 
Ambystoma californiense 


FC 


Hollister 


G, Negative (only 
a small portion of 
BLM occurrence 
grazed, if any) 


California red-legged frog 
Rana aurora draytonii 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Negative (only 
a small portion of 
BLM occurrence 
grazed, if any) 


Modoc sucker 
Catostomus microps 


FE, CE 


Alturas 


G, ** 


Warner sucker 
Catostomus warnerensis 


FT 


Surprise 


G, ** 


Shortnose sucker 
Chasmistes brevirostris 


FE, CE 


Alturas 


G, ** 


Owens pupfish 
Cyprinodon radiosus 


FE, CE 


Bishop 


UG 


Lost River sucker 
Deltistes luxatus 


FE, CE 


Alturas 


G, ** 


Owens tui chub 
G/7a bicolor snyderi 


FE, CE 


Bishop 


UG 


Cowhead Lake tui chub 
G/7a bicolor vaccaceps 


FC 


Surprise 


G, ** 


Lahontan cutthroat trout 
Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi 


FT 


Bishop 


UG in currently 
occupied habitat 



Page A1 2-3 



Appendix 1 2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Species 
Common Name 
Scientific Name 


Status 


Resource 

Area(s) 

of 

Occurrence 


Effects of 

Livestock Grazing 

Under Current 

Management 


Coho salmon (Central California ESU) 
Oncorhynchus kisutch 


FT 


Clear Lake 


G,** 


West Coast steelhead (Northern CA ESU) 
Oncorhynchus mykiss 


PT 


Areata 


G, ** 


Winter-run Chinook salmon 
Oncorhynchus tsawytscha 


FE, CE 


Redding 


G, ** 


San Joaquin dune beetle 
Coelus gracilis 


BLMS 


Hollister 


G, Negative (only 
a small portion of 
BLM occurrence 
grazed, if any) 


Valley elderberry longhorn beetle 
Desmocerus californicus dimorphus 


FT 


Folsom, 
Hollister 


G, Negative (only 
a small portion of 
BLM occurrence 
grazed, if any) 


Kern primrose sphinx moth 
Euproserpinus euterpe 


FT 


Caliente 


UG 


Conservancy fairy shrimp 
Branchinecta conservatio 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 


Longhorn fairy shrimp 
Branchinecta longiantenna 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 


Vernal pool fairy shrimp 
Branchinecta lynchi 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 


Vernal pool tadpole shrimp 
Lepidurus packardi 


FE 


Caliente, 
Hollister 


G, Neutral 



For these bird species, suitable habitat may occur on publio lands, but BLM surveys have not documented the species 
as occuring there. 



** 



These fish species occur within tha watershed, and there is some habitat on public lands; however, the amount of 
habitat on public land compared to the amount on adjacent private lands is so small that actions taken on public lands 
will have negligible impact upon the species. 



Page A1 2-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 13 



APPENDIX 13: WILDERNESS STUDY AREAS and WILDERNESS AREAS 

The following tables contain complete lists of those wilderness study areas and designated 
wilderness areas within the EIS analysis area that are grazed or partially grazed. The 
acreages given are the total acreage of the unit, not the amount of the unit that is actually 
grazed. 



TABLE A.4.1: WILDERNESS STUDY AREAS GRAZED 


BAKERSFIELD DISTRICT (Caliente, Bishop, Folsom, Hollister RA) 


WSA Number 


WSA Name 


Acres 


CA-01 0-022 


Sheep Ridge (202 WSA) 


5,102 


CA-01 0-023 


Milk Ranch / Case Mountain (202 WSA) 


8,970 


CA-01 0-026 


Owens Peak (partial) 


310 


CA-01 0-027 


Sacatar Trails 


140 


CA-01 0-029 


Rockhouse 


310 


CA-01 0-030 


Scodie (202 WSA) 


420 


CA-01 0-032 


Domeland (202 WSA) 


40 


CA-01 0-042 


Caliente Mountain 


17,590 


CA-01 0-045 


Kelso Creek Valley (202 WSA) 


120 


CA-01 0-057 


Independence Creek 


6,458 


CA-01 0-060 


Paiute (202 WSA) 


7,600 


CA-01 0-062 


Crater Mountain 


7,069 


CA-01 0-063 


Coyote Southeast (202 WSA) 


3,211 


CA-01 0-064 


Symmes Creek 


7,694 


CA-01 0-065 


Black Canyon (202 WSA) 


6,518 


CA-01 0-068 


Wheeler Ridge (202 WSA) 


3,197 


CA-01 0-072 


Laurel-McGee (202 WSA) 


110 


CA-01 0-075 


White Mountain (202 WSA) 


1,260 


CA-01 0-077 


Benton Range (202 WSA) 


4,052 


CA-01 0-079 


Chidago Canyon 


19,702 


CA-01 0-080 


Fish Slough 


14,700 


CA-01 0-081 


Volcanic Tablelands 12,499 



Page A1 3-1 



Appendix 13 


Rangeland Health Stand 


ards & Guidelines EIS 




BAKERSFIELD DISTRICT (Caliente, Bishop, Folsom, Hollister RA) 


WSA Number 


WSA Name 


Acres 


CA-01 0-082 


Casa Diablo 


5,325 


CA-01 0-088 


Excelsior (north 1/2) 


9,383 


CA-01 0-090 


Granite Mountain 


54,178 


CA-01 0-092 


Walford Springs 


12,840 


CA-01 0-094 


Mormon Meadow 


7,721 


CA-01 0-095 


Mount Biedeman 


13,069 


CA-01 0-099 


Bodie Mountain 


23,934 


CA-01 0-1 00 


Bodie 


16,482 


CA-01 0-1 02 


Masonic Mountain 


6,493 


CA-01 0-1 03 


Sweetwater (202 WSA) 


960 


CA-01 0-1 05 


Slinkard 


6,268 


CA-040-301A 


Panoche Hills North 


6,631 


CA-040-301 B 


Panoche Hills South 


1 1 ,229 


CA-040-303 


Pinnacles (202 WSA) 


5,949 


TOTAL 


Number of WSAs = 36 


307,534 


Eagle Lake, Alturas, Surprise RA 


WSA Number 


WSA Name 


Acres 


CA-020-103 


Pit River Canyon 


1 1 ,724 


CA-020-21 1 


Tule Mountain 


16,998 


CA-020-31 1 


Tunnison Mountain 


1 9,884 


CA-020-604 


Bitterbrush ISA 


640 


CA-020-609 


Five Springs 


49,206 


CA-020-612 


Skedaddle 


62,010 


CA-020-708 


South Warner Contig. (202 WSA) 


4,330 


CA-030-201 


Timbered Crater 

(includes Baker Cypress ISA (CA-030-301) 


17,896 
(1,148) 


CA-030-203 


Lava 


10,770 


CA-020-615 


Dry Valley Rim 


94,308 



Page A1 3-2 



J 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 


Appendix 13 




Eagle Lake, Alturas, Surprise RA 


WSA Number 


WSA Name 


Acres 


CA-020-619 


Buffalo Hills 


46,143 


CA-020-619A 


Twin Peaks 


90,791 


CA-020-805 


Wall Canyon 


46,305 


CA-020-913 
NV-020-008 


Little High Rock Canyon 


50,951 


CA-020-913A 


Yellow Rock Canyon 


12,468 


CA-020-913B 


High Rock Canyon 


34,758 


CA-020-914 
NV-020-006A 


E. Fork High Rock Canyon 


52,639 


CA-020-1012 


Sheldon Contiguous 


23,700 


CA-020-1013 
NV-020-012 


Massacre Rim 


101,290 


CA-020-618 
CA-020-621 


Poodle Mountain 


28,000 


TOTAL 


Number of WSAs = 20 


774,811 


Areata, Clear Lake, Redding RA 


WSA Number 


WSA Name 


Acres 


CA-030-501 


Yolla Bolly Contig. (202 WSA) 


646 


CA-050-112 


King Range 


33,485 


CA-050-21 1 


Big Butte (202 WSA) 


2,408 


CA-050-212 


Thatcher Ridge 


16,918 


CA-050-21 4 


Eden Valley 


6,166 


CA-050-317 


Rocky Creek / Cache Creek 


33,561 


TOTAL 


Number of WSAs = 6 


93,184 


Total WSAs Currentl 


y Grazed = 62 


1,175,529 acres 



Page A1 3-3 



Appendix 13 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 





TABLE A.4.2: WILDERNESS AREAS CURRENTLY GRAZED 


Wilderness Name 


Acres 


Caliente Resource Area 


Chimney Peak 


13,700 


Domeland Additions 


36,300 


Kiavah 


1 6,090 


Owens Peak 


24,934 


Sacatar Trail 


17,612 


Machesna Mountain 


120 


Santa Lucia 


1,733 


Number of Wilderness Areas = 7 


Total Acres = 1 1 0,489 



Again, the acreages given are the size of the wilderness study area or wilderness area, not 
the amount of the area that is actually grazed. 



Page A1 3-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 4 



APPENDIX 14: SOIL STANDARDS 



The following Table displays the soil resource parameters that must be addressed by the 
rangeland health standards, as identified in 43 CFR 41 81 .2; and shows whether they are 
addressed by the Soils Standards in the different alternatives in Chapter 2. The standards 
listed are the Soil Standards for the individual RACs, from Alternative 1 ; the State-wide Soils 
Standard from Alternative 2; and the "Fallback Standard" from Alternative 3. The Standard 
used in Alternative 4 is identical to the State-wide Standard in Alternative 2 and is not listed 
on the Table. 



SOIL STANDARDS, COMPARISON OF THE PROPOSED CONTENTS 


ITEM 


UKIAH 
RAC 


SUSAN- 

VILLE 

RAC 


BAKERS- 
FIELD RAC 


FALLBACK 
STANDARDS 


STATE-WIDE 
STANDARDS 


infiltration 


Y 


Y 


Y 


Y 


Y 


permeability 


Y 


Y 


1 


Y 


Y 


fertility 


Y 


Y 


Y 


1 


Y 


biological 
function 


Y 


Y 


Y 


1 


Y 


chemical 
function 




Y 








physical 
function 


Y 


Y 


Y 


1 


Y 


erosion 


Y 


Y 


Y 




Y 


litter 


Y 




Y 




Y 


crusting- 
biological 


Y 




Y 




Y 


crusting- 
physical 


Y 




Y 




Y 


ground cover 


Y 




Y 


1 


Y 


compaction 


Y 




Y 




Y 


structure 










Y 


vegetation- 
diversity 


Y 


Y 


Y 


Y 


Y 


root depths 


Y 




Y 




Y 


1- Mentioned in Guidelines. 













Page A1 4-1 



Appendix 1 4 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



This comparison of the various soil properties or functions shows that each RAC proposal 
meets or exceeds the minimum standards presented in the Fallback standard with one 
exception. The Bakersfield RAC proposal does net refer to soil permeability in the standards; 
however it does in the guidelines. 



Alternative 1 : RAC Standards 

Susanville RAC Standard 

The standard for this proposal addresses some of the soil quality issues which influence 
watershed function. The standard specifically mentions infiltration and permeability; the 
biological, chemical and physical functions; adequate erosion protection; and soil fertility 
appropriate for the soil type. Criteria for measuring compliance with the standard is wind or 
water erosion evidence; vegetation vigor, age diversity, and composition diversity. Vegetation 
which reflects the potential natural vegetation or desired plant community for the site is 
another soil criteria. Conspicuously absent is any mention of litter cover, soil crusts (either 
biological or structural), or soil compaction. 

This standard appears to minimally address the issues presented in the Fallback Standard. 
Issues which are not specifically addressed are surface litter, soil compaction and surface 
crusts. In the drier regions of the Susanville RAC area surface crusts are an important issue 
which influence infiltration, seed germination and susceptibility to wind erosion. Ignoring this 
issue may result in resource degradation. 

Ukiah RAC Standard 

The standard for this proposal specifically addresses all the soil properties which influence 
watershed function. Indicators of full function include ground cover, litter, plant species 
diversity, diverse root depths, vigorous plant growth, minimal evidence of accelerated erosion, 
absence of surface crusts or compaction layers and intact biological crusts. 

This standard appears to meet or exceed those defined for the Fallback Standard and, if 
followed by those responsible for managing the resources, will improve or protect the soil 
resources. 

Bakersfield RAC Standard 

The standard for this proposal addresses all of the issues presented in the fallback standard 
except permeability; however physical function is mentioned. Indicators of full function 
include ground cover, litter, biological and physical characteristics, adequate erosion 
protection, fertility, plant diversity, root depth diversity, vigorous plants, absence of physical 
crusts or compaction layers, and intact biological crust. 

This standard appears to meet or exceed those defined for the Fallback Standard and, if 
followed by those responsible for managing the resources, will improve or protect the soil 
resources. 



Page A1 4-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 14 



Alternative 2: Statewide Standard 

This alternative proposes a single, state-wide standard and would use the individual RAC 
guidelines. The standard is comprehensive and addresses all of the soil resource issues 
presented in all other standards. 

This alternative incorporates the missing elements - soil crusts, soil compaction and litter - 
into the Susanville RAC geographic area. Since the Susanville guidelines contain all the 
livestock management tools necessary to achieve these standards, this alternative would 
adequately protect or initiate movement toward improvement of the soil resource throughout 
the geographic area covered by this document if implemented by resource managers. 

Alternative 3: Fallback Standard 

These standards are general and fail to mention some important issues addressed by the 
locally developed standards of the individual RACs. Erosion is not mentioned in this 
standard, although this fact is mitigated by the term "soil stability" which is a less commonly 
used reference than erosion. Litter, physical and biological crusts and compaction are not 
specifically mentioned in the fallback standard, however "physical condition" is referred to in 
the guidelines. The general nature and omission of some specific soil parameters important 
to watershed function may make this standard less successful at improving or protecting the 
soil resources than Alternative 2. 

Alternative 4: Rapid Improvement Standard 

This alternative proposes a single, state-wide standard that is the same as that in 
Alternative 2. The standard is comprehensive and addresses all of the soil resource issues 
presented in all other standards. 



Page A1 4-3 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 15 



APPENDIX 15: ADEQUACY OF WATER QUALITY STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES 

The following discusses the adequacy of the Water Quality Standards and Guidelines in the 
different alternatives in meeting the requirements identified in 43 CFR 41 81 .2. The standards 
listed are the Water Quality Standards and Guidelines for the individual RACs, from Alternative 
1 ; the State-wide Water Quality Standard from Alternative 2 and the Standards and Guidelines 
from Alternative 4. The Fallback Standards and Guidelines from Alternative 3, which are 
verbatim repeated from the regulations, are also listed, but they fail to specifically address 
water quality requirements. 

In December 1 996 a BLM-wide team reviewed all of the recommended RAC standards and 
guidelines for California while reviewing standard and guideline submissions for some of the 
other western states that were preparing their recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior 
for final approval. The comments and recommendations from the team for California's RAC 
recommendations that specifically address water quality are incorporated in this discussion. 

PROPOSED ACTION -- ALTERNATIVE 1 

BAKERSFIELD RAC RECOMMENDATIONS 

Standards - The water quality standard is "Surface and ground water complies with 
California, or other appropriate (e.g. Nevada or Tribal water quality standards"). 

The review team commented: The "meaning that" portion of the water quality standard is 
phrased in the terminology of a guideline, i.e., actions, techniques and practices to achieve a 
standard, rather than further defining the standard as a clear statement of condition or 
function. 

Guidelines - Guidelines 1 , 2, 5, 9, 10 and 13 support water quality needs. Guidelines 12, 14 
and 15 are more directly supportive to water quality needs in protection of water sources and 
riparian/wetland areas; and Guideline 16 states to "implement grazing systems that will 
promote compliance with Water Quality Standards". 

Overall the guidelines adequately provide for most anticipated grazing activities that may 
influence water quality. An additional guideline that might have been included that would 
have improved the guidelines is the development of any water gaps on streams would 
provide for hardened watering access for livestock watering purposes. 

UKIAH RAC RECOMMENDATIONS 

Standards - The water quality standard is "With the exception of off-stream artificial 
impoundments, surface and groundwater quality complies with California, Tribal and Federal 
water quality standards (WQS)". 

The review team commented: The opening phrase sets up an exception to the standard, thus 
obscuring the level of condition or degree of function to be attained. The "meaning that" 

Page A1 5-1 



Appendix 15 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



portion of the water quality standard is phrased in the terminology of a guideline, i.e., actions, 
techniques, and practices to achieve a standard, rather than further defining the standard as 
a clear statement of condition or function. 

The exception identified for "off-stream, artificial impoundments," that structural facilities 
constructed for livestock grazing and other purposes are to be exempted from meeting the 
state water quality standards, raises the concern that those sites may not meet the non- 
degradation objectives for water quality for non-point sources, and might therefore be subject 
to more stringent regulation similar to point sources of pollution (including the requirement of 
obtaining a permit). 

Guidelines - The review team commented: Guiding principles are not addressed in the 
guidelines for "maintaining, restoring, or enhancing water quality". 

Guidelines 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 for riparian areas and Guideline 3 for annual upland ranges 
support water quality protection. A possible additional guideline might have been included 
that said the development of any water gaps on streams would provide for hardened watering 
access for livestock watering purposes. 

SUSANVILLE RAC RECOMMENDATIONS 

Standards - The water quality standard is "At a minimum, water quality is adequate for 
desired beneficial use of water resources on public lands." 

The review team commented: The water quality standard does not specifically refer to State 
water quality standards as addressed in Fundamental (c). The statement "adequate for 
desired beneficial use" does not indicate whose desired beneficial use is established. Use of 
the word "desired" in the standard does not indicate a clear level of condition or degree of 
function. 

Guidelines ~ The review team commented: Guiding principles are addressed for "maintaining, 
restoring, or enhancing water quality". 

Although guideline 1 supports minimizing impacts from grazing activities along steams by 
emphasizing use level and trampling that would in turn improve water quality, there is a lack 
of guidelines addressing specific types of measures to help prevent livestock related water 
quality influences at or near water sources such as minimizing concentrations of livestock and 
influences to water quality and establishing determinable threshold parameters for grazing 
management in these areas. 



STATE-WIDE CONSISTENCY/CONSOLIDATED STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES - 
ALTERNATIVE 2 

Standards - The water quality standard is: "Water will have the characteristics suitable for 
existing or potential beneficial uses". 



Page A1 5-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 15 



This standard was developed with the intent of leaving some flexibility in meeting specific 
state numerical water quality standards, particularly for drinking water, as identified in some of 
California's Regional Basin Plans. The rationale for this approach is based upon a difference 
in interpretation and opinion about the applicability of the state's numerical objectives for 
drinking water to livestock grazing activities. One interpretation is that strict adherence to the 
numerical standards would only apply where the water is actually used for drinking water 
purposes and the water could not be treated for potable purposes or where the water must 
meet the standard prior to any treatment. The other interpretation is that the state's numerical 
standards apply no matter what the circumstance. 

This alternative focuses on working with the State of California and the Regional Boards to 
revisit the Basin Plans, and make new determinations of the beneficial uses. The intent is that 
BLM and the State of California would jointly determine what the new standards would be. 

Although the description of this standard explains cooperative processes for BLM and the 
State of California to jointly determine what standards may be applicable for grazing on public 
land, it does not address BLM's need to adhere to existing standards established by both 
California and Nevada and the Indian tribes where appropriate. 

Guidelines - The guidelines are the same as the RAC guidelines for the respective RAC areas 
in the proposed action. 

FALLBACK STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES -- ALTERNATIVE 3 

Standards - There is no standard for water quality in this alternative. It therefore fails to meet 
the requirements of the regulations. 

Guidelines - There is no guideline that specifically addresses water quality under this 
alternative, although Guidelines 3, 4, 13, and 14 address riparian, wetland and stream channel 
functioning condition, thereby indirectly addressing the issue. 

RAPID IMPROVEMENT/RAPID RECOVERY STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES - 
ALTERNATIVE 4 

Standards - The standard is: "Surface and groundwater quality complies with California or 
Nevada, and other appropriate (e.g. Tribal) water quality standards." 

The standard and it's supportive description clearly meet the requirements of the 
Fundamentals. For this standard as well as for the other proposed standards, a reference to 
the documents that actually identify the standards, such as referring to the water quality 
objectives identified in the California Regional Basin Plans and the State of Nevada's water 
quality regulations, would give the standard a more localized relationship to the BLM situation 
in California. 

Guidelines - Guideline 10 directs implementation to meet water quality objectives, but is not 
specific about how this should be done. Similarly, it is implied in guideline 1 that the listed 
set of adjustments would be applied appropriately for protecting water quality; however, it 

Page A1 5-3 



Appendix 15 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



may not be clear what specific types of situations would occur for any of these guidelines to 
be applied. Also there are no guidelines for specifically minimizing livestock concentration 
influences to water quality. 



Page A1 5-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 6 



APPENDIX 16: GUIDELINES for ALL ALTERNATIVES 



The following Table displays the guideline topics that must be addressed by the rangeland 
health guidelines, as identified in 43 CFR 41 81 .2; and shows whether they are addressed by 
the Guidelines in the different alternatives in Chapter 2. The guidelines listed are for the 
individual RACs, from Alternative 1 ; the Fallback Guidelines from Alternative 3; and the 
Guidelines for Rapid Improvement used in Alternative 4. The State-wide Guidelines from 
Alternative 2 are almost the same as the RAC guidelines in Alternative 1 , and, except for the 
two added guidelines, are not listed. 

This comparison of the various guidelines shows that while the guidelines may not specifically 
address each and every item listed in the regulations, or may not say specifically "do this in 
this situation," they seem to provide the tools (and direction) to allow the BLM to manage the 
public lands in a manner that will allow us to meet the fundamentals of rangeland health. 



Comparison of Guidelines between Alternatives 


Items Required to 
be addressed by 
Regulation 


Alt. 1 
Bak. 
RAC 


Alt. 1 

Ukiah 

RAC 


Alt. 1 
Sus. 
RAC 


Alt. 2 
State- 
wide 


Alt. 3 
Fall- 
Back 


Alt. 4 

Rapid 

Impr. 


Ground Cover 


1,2, 
4,5, 
Table A 


2, 11, 
Table B 


1,14 


2 


1,15 


2, 3, 6 


Soil Permeability 


1 


13 






1,2 


4 


Riparian/Wetland 
Functions 


10,11, 
12,13, 
14, 15 


1,2,3, 
4, 5, 7, 
9 


1,2,13, 
14 




3, 13, 14 


1,5,6 


Stream Channel 
Morphology & 
Function 


10,11, 
12 


2, 3, 4, 
5,7,9 


1 




4 


1,7 


Maintain Soil 
Organisms to 
support hydrol. 
cycle, nutrient 
cycle, and 
energy flow 


1, 10 








5 


8 


Seedling Estab. 


3, 6 




12 




7 


9 


Water Quality to 
meet Mgt. Object. 


10,11, 
12,14, 
15, 16 


2, 3, 4, 
5 








1,2,10 


T & E Habitat 








| 


8 11 



Page A1 6-1 



Appendix 1 6 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Comparison of Guidelines between Alternatives 


Items Required to 
be addressed by 
Regulation 


Alt. 1 
Bak. 
RAC 


Alt. 1 

Ukiah 

RAC 


Alt. 1 
Sus. 
RAC 


Alt. 2 
State- 
wide 


Alt. 3 
Fall- 
Back 


Alt. 4 

Rapid 

Impr. 


Habitat for 
Native Species 


6,7 


11,20, 
21 


5, 7, 8, 
9,10, 
11, 12 




6,11,12, 
15 


12, 13 


Encourage Native 
Species 


6 


11,19, 
20 


5 




9, 15 


14 


Use Non-Native 
Plants Only as 
Necessary 


8 


10,21 






10 


15 


Other Items Addressed, but Not Required by the Regulations 


Response to 
Episodic Events 


9 


6, 15 


3, 12 






9 


Cultural Site 
Preservation 




8, 16 




1 






Multiple Use 
Coordination 




18 


4 








Permit Admin. 
(Monitoring) 






6,7,14, 
15 








Grazing Adjust- 
ment Implement. 












1 



Page A1 6-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Appendix 1 7 



APPENDIX 17: EXPLANATION OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS METHODOLOGY 

This appendix briefly explains the methodology used in Chapter 4 for calculating the impact 
of AUM reductions on income and employment. 

A review of the literature and discussion with both BLM and Forest Service agricultural 
economists was conducted to identify the best possible methodology for estimating the 
income and employment impacts of grazing reductions on BLM land. Because a livestock 
operator has a number of options in response to permit AUM reductions, an analysis of all 
possibilities would be very lengthy and inappropriate for the present analysis. For the present 
assessment, only the decision to reduce herd size to match allowable AUMs is analyzed. 
This is a reasonable choice given the present high cost of supplemental feed and the low 
prices for cattle. After it was discovered that almost all of the projected AUM impacts would 
occur in two counties, the impacts for the balance of the EIS study area were based on 
simple extrapolations of the principal county impact factors to the numbers for the other 
counties. The result is a better estimate than could be obtained through a large area impact 
formula. 

The principal county analysis focused on specific AUM reductions for specific permits. This is 
the most accurate approach available because herd size changes (and sales income lost) are 
directly related to AUM reductions for a particular livestock operation. Based on discussion 
with county farm advisors and BLM range conservationists, a 5.5 month season of use 
assumption is used for herd size calculations. The impact of AUM reductions on herd size 
uses the Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) model developed by researchers at the 
Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is presented in the 
Rangeland Reform EIS, Appendix G, "Economic Aspects of Supply and Demand for Livestock 
Forage on Public Lands (BLM 1994). The CES model used data in the 1990 USDA Farm 
Costs and Returns Survey of western livestock operations to model the tradeoffs between 
federal grazing and other forage sources. The model permits a calculation of percent herd 
size reduction from percent permit AUM reduction. In effect, this is a worst case scenario. If 
the operator has access to surplus pasture or inexpensive supplemental forage the herd size 
reduction could be less. 

The income impact analysis is based on an average sale per cow-unit calculation developed 
by Rick Delmas of the Modoc County Farm Advisor Office. The calculation uses a 300 head 
cow-calf operation with 85 % calf crop, 2 % cow mortality, 20 % replacement and the 
following cattle prices: 450 # steers @ $74/1 00#, 425 # heifers @ $68/1 00#, 1,000 # cull 
cows @ $37/1 00#, and 1,600 # cull bulls @ $47/1 00#. This produces an average sale price 
of $296 per animal. This figure, of course, applies to only one point in time and no 
assumptions can be made about future values. 

Two research studies were conducted in northern California that provide the total income and 
employment impacts of reduced livestock sales. The first is a study by George Goldman, 
economist with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of 
California, Berkeley. The other study was by Brian Roach and John Loomis of the Division of 
Environmental Studies at the University of California, Davis. Both studies analyzed the 
economic impact of livestock sales on the total regional/local income and employment. The 
total income multiplier of 1 .40 used in this analysis is an average of the research by Roach 

Page A1 7-1 



Appendix 17 Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



and Loomis who proposed an income multiplier of 1 .47 and George Goldman who proposed 
a multiplier of 1 .3393. The employment multiplier of 13.28 jobs per one million dollars in sales 
is used because it is the most recent estimate. 



Page A1 7-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 8 



APPENDIX 18: IMPACTS COMPARISON BY ALTERNATIVE 



The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the impacts identified in Chapter 4 for 
each alternative. For more explanation, see Chapter 4. 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Grazing Management 


Reduction of 1 6,267 
AUMs in first 5 
years, carrying 
through 
implementation 
phase until recovery 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Reduction of 35,901 
AUMs in first 5 
years, until recovery 


Changes to grazing 
systems, some 
exclusions, range 
improvements (see 
Table 4.3.1) 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 , 
except increased 
number and 
magnitude of 
changes (see 
Table 4.3.1(b)) 


Cost to BLM to 
implement projects 
= $2.2 million 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Cost to BLM to 
implement projects 
= $2.9 million 


Current BLM 
Personnel 

- 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Need 33 FTE and 
$350,000 operating 
expenses above 
current funding 

levels for 5 years 

I 1 1 



Page A1 8-1 



Appendix 18 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Upland Soils 


Improved watershed 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


health over the long 








term with: 








Reduced surface 








crusting; reduced 








erosion; increased 








biological activity; 








increased 








permeability; 








increased root 








mass; increased 








fertility; increased 








soil cover; 








increased soil 








moisture 








Weed infestations of 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Medusahead, etc. 








will continue 








Upland Vegetation - Annual Grasslands 


Perennial grasses 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


increase 








Episodic recruitment 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


of oaks and shrubs 








Upland Vegetation - Sagebrush Steppe 


Increased perennial 


Same as Alt 1 2 


Slower than Alt 1 3 


Faster than Alt 1 4 


grasses 1 








Increase in variety 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


of serai stages 








Increase in soil 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


cover 








Better distribution of 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


litter and 








incorporation of 








litter into soil 









Page A1 8-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 18 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Better root 
distribution in the 
soil profile 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased species 
diversity 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased 

photosynthetic 

period 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased vegetative 
structure 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased frequency 
of wild fire 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Decreased rate of 
spread of juniper 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased diversity 
of age classes in 
aspen 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


If it is a DPC goal, 
then shrubs 
maintained with 
increased vigor 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


If it is a DPC goal, 
then shrubs 
decreased and 
more perennial 
grasses and forbs 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Riparian Overview 


Lentic wetlands 
increase from 27% 
to 83% in Proper 
Functioning 
Condition 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 , but 
faster 


Lotic riparian 
increase from 28% 
to 62% in Proper 
Functioning 
Condition 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 , but 
faster 



Page A1 8-3 



Appendix 18 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Riparian -- Vegetation 


Increased shrub 
and tree layers, with 
improved age class 
distribution 5 


Same as Alt 1 2 


Slower than Alt 1 3 


Faster than Alt 1 4 


Increased cover and 
vigor of herbaceous 
perennials 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased 
streambank cover 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Movement toward 
later serai stages 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased diversity 
of plants and 
animals 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased width of 
riparian zone 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Decrease of non- 
riparian species in 
the riparian zone as 
water tables rise 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Riparian - Hydrologic Function and Water Quality 


Improved hydrologic 
function and water 
quality 6 


Same as Alt 1 * 


Slower than Alt 1 3 


Faster than Alt 1 4 


Stream channels 
narrow and deepen 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased ground 
water recharge 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased flows in 
perennial streams, 
and longer seasonal 
flows in ephemeral 

streams 

.... . 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Improved water 
temperatures 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 



Page A1 8-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 8 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Improved levels of 
oxygen 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Reduced nutrients, 
sediment and 
pathogens in water 


Same as Alt 1 


Slower than Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Wildlife Habitat 


Wildlife habitats will 
generally be 
improved or 
maintained 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Habitats will develop 
more diversity 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased ground 
cover in annual 
grasslands will be 
good for some 
species, bad for 
others 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Improved habitat in 
oak and shrub 
areas, tempered by 
fire occurrence 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Increased fires in 
annual grasslands 
may negatively 
affect shrubs and 
small tree 
recruitment 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Sagebrush steppe 
habitats will change 
with increased 
species diversity 
and vegetative 
structure 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 



Page A1 8-5 



Appendix 1 8 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Increased fire 
occurrence with 
increased perennial 
grasses will result in 
decrease in pinyon- 
juniper community. 
Negative impacts for 
some birds, but not 
enough to affect 
their populations 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Increased fire will 
result in mosaic of 
habitat types spread 
across watershed. 
More edge will 
benefit most 
species 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Improved riparian 
habitats for 
waterfowl, 
shorebirds, 
migratory birds 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Improved aquatic 
habitats as more 
riparian areas reach 
Proper Functioning 
Condition 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Upland game 
habitats slowly 
improve (riparian 
component 
improves faster) 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Slowly improved 
deer habitat in 
perennial and 
annual ranges 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Improved elk habitat 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 



Page A1 8-6 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 1 8 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Improved pronghom 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


habitat due to 








increased diversity 








of plant 








communities 








Special Status Species 


Positive responses 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 , but 


by special status 






slightly faster 


plant species to 






response 


changes in grazing 








management 








Improved habitat for 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


special status 








animal species 








Wild Horses and Burros 


Potential reductions 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


in herd size as 








managers determine 








that wild horse and 








burro populations 








are causing an 








inability to meet 








rangeland health 








standards 








Recreation 


General positive 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


effects due to 








increased ecological 








function 








Potential restrictions 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


on some recreation 








activities as 








managers determine 








that some recreation 








activities are 








causing an inability 








to meet rangeland 








health standards 






| 



Page A1 8-7 



Appendix 18 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 


Wilderness 


Improved 

naturalness due to 
improved ecological 
function (faster 
occurrence in 
riparian areas) 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Negative impacts 
due to increased 
human manipulation 
such as new fences, 
new water 

developments, more 
motor vehicle use, 
etc. 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Cultural Resources 


Little effect upon 
cultural properties 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Potential for 
increased availability 
of traditionally used 
plant species for 
subsistence, 
medicinal, and craft 
purposes 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Faster than Alt 1 


Some negative 
impacts to ranchers' 
ability to maintain 
traditional lifestyles 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Greater potential for 
negative impacts 



Page A1 8-8 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Appendix 18 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 



Alternative 1 



Alternative 2 



Alternative 3 



Economics 



Cost to permittees 
in first 5 years = 
$.8 million, and loss 
of 8 jobs 



Long term costs 
from AUM 
reductions, with 
incremental 
implementation and 
gradual 

improvement of 
range condition 



Loss of $21 ,960 in 
grazing fee revenue 
each of the first 5 
years, with some 
long term costs 



Loss of $3, 162 to 
the counties each of 
the first 5 years 



Lower possessory 
interest taxes paid 
by permittees in CA 
each year (-$3,567) 



Loss of real estate 
value due to AUM 
reductions = 
$ 30/AUM 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Increased expense 
of herding to 
allotments that 
require herding (37) 
= $3000/allot./yr 



BLM budget = 
current funding 
levels 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Same as Alt 1 



Alternative 4 



Cost to permittees 
in first 5 years = 
$1.8 million, and 
loss of 1 7 jobs 



Faster improvement 
of range condition, 
potentially lower 
long term costs, 
quicker AUM 
reinstatement 
potential 



Loss of $48,488 in 
grazing fee revenue 
each of the first 5 
years, with some 
long term costs 



Loss of $6,982 to 
counties each of 
the first 5 years 



Lower possessory 
interest taxes paid 
by permittees in CA 
each year (-$8,344) 



Same as Alt 1 



Increased expense 
of herding to 
allotments that 
require herding (47) 
= $4200/allot./yr 



BLM budget = $2.4 
mi!!ion/yr above 
current funding 
levels for 5 years 



Page A1 8-9 



Appendix 1 8 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



COMPARISON OF IMPACTS 


Alternative 1 


Alternative 2 


Alternative 3 


Alternative 4 




Economics - County Impacts 




Lassen Co first 5 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Lassen Co first 5 


years (each year) = 






years (each year) = 


Reduce 5,124 AUMs 






Reduce 11,315 


(6.2%), 






AUMs (13.6%), 


$265,216, 






$568,142, 


2.5 jobs 






5.4 jobs 


Loss of fee share to 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Loss of fee share to 


Lassen County = 






Lassen County = 


$865/year 






$1 ,908/year 


Loss of tax revenue 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Loss of tax revenue 


to Lassen County = 






to Lassen County = 


$2,252/year 






$4,850/year 


Washoe Co first 5 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Washoe Co first 5 


years (each yr) = 






years (each year) = 


Reduce 8,877 AUMs 






Reduce 18,419 


(9.6%) 






AUMs (19.9%) 


$ 455,426 






$ 950,634 


4.3 jobs 






9 jobs 


Loss of fee share to 


Same as Alt 1 


Same as Alt 1 


Loss of fee share to 


Washoe County = 






Washoe County = 


$1 ,498/year 






$3,108/year 



1 . The following changes will occur for all alternatives. It may be a slow process in the uplands, depending upon rainfall, 
soils, topography, etc. For Alt 1 , the changes will occur faster in the Bishop and Redding Resource Areas, and slower 
in the Susanville area due to the nature of the RAC proposed guidelines for those areas. 

2. For Alt 2, rates of change will be the same as Alt 1 due to using essentially the same guidelines. 

3. For Alt 3, rates of change will be slower due to a lack of utilization guidelines. 

4. For Alt 4, rates of change will be the fastest due to the rapid implementation. 

5. The following changes will occur for all alternatives. It will be a faster process than the uplands, due to more water and 
better soils. For Alt 1 , the changes will occur faster in the Bishop and Redding Resource Areas, and slower in the 
Susanville area due to the nature of the guidelines for those areas. 

6. With improvements in vegetation in riparian areas, all functions will improve. Especially, proper functioning riparian 
zones act like a sponge, holding the water longer, and releasing it slowly throughout the year. The following changes 
will occur for all alternatives. For Alt 1 , the changes will occur faster in the Bishop and Redding Resource Areas, and 
slower in the Susanville area due to the nature of the guidelines for those areas. 



Page A1 8-1 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Reference Section 



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Janes, E.B. 1969. Botanical composition and productivity in the California annual grassland in 
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Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Reference Section 



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Reference Section Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines E1S Reference Section 



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Reference Section Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Pechanec, J.F., and G. Stewart. 1949. Grazing spring-fall sheep ranges in southern Idaho. 
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Pickford, G.D., and E.H. Reid. 1948. Forage utilization on summer cattle ranges in eastern 
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Schnidt, J. and D. Gilbert. 1978. Big game of North America. Ecology and Management. 
Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA. 494 p. 



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Schultz, T.T., and W.C. Leininger. 1991. Nongame wildlife communities in grazed and 
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Sheley, R. 1995. Integrated rangeland weed management. Rangelands 17(6):222-3. 

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methods on ponderosa pine - bunchgrass range in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. Dept. 
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Smith, E.L. 1989. Range condition and secondary succession: a critique. In: W.K. Laurenroth 
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Svejcar, T. and J.R. Brown. 1991. Failures in the assumptions of the condition and trend 
concept for management of natural ecosystems. Rangelands 13:165-167. 



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Thilenius, J.F. 1979. Range management in the alpine zone. Pages 43-65 in: D.A. Johnson 

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Thomas, J.W., C. Maser, and J.E. Rodiek. 1979. Riparian zones. In: J.W. Thomas, ed. Wildlife 
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Thomas, J. and D. Toweill. 1982. Elk of North America: ecology and management. Stackpole 
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Vallentine, J.F. 1990. Grazing management. Academic Press, Inc., New York. 

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Walker, B.H., D. Ludwig, OS. Holling, and R.M. Peterman. 1981. Stability of semi-arid 
savannah grazing systems. J. Ecol. 69:473-498. 

Walmo, O. 1981. Mule and black-tailed deer of North America. Univ. of Nebraska Press. 
605 pg. 

West, N.E. 1984. Successional patterns and productivity potentials of pinyon-juniper 

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M.G. Barbour and W.D. Billings, eds. North American Terrestrial Vegetation. 
Cambridge University Press, New York. 



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Westoby, M., B. Walker, and I. Noy-Meir. 1989. Opportunistic management for rangelands not 
at equilibrium. Journal of Range Management 42:266-274. 

Williams, B.L and B.G. Marcot. 1991. Use of biodiversity indicators for analyzing and 

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Young, J.A., R.A. Evans, and J. Major. 1977. Sagebrush steppe. Pages 763-796 in: M.G. 
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' Biological Report 85(7.11), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wetlands Research 
Center, Washington, D.C. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Glossary 



GLOSSARY 



Accelerated Erosion: Soil loss above natural levels resulting directly from human activities. 

Active Preference: The number of AUMs available to be grazed (authorized on a grazing 
permit or lease). 

Activity Plan: A detailed and specific plan for management of a single resource program to 
achieve specific objectives undertaken only when needed to implement the more general 
Land Use Plan decisions (e.g. allotment management plan for livestock grazing or habitat 
management plan for wildlife habitat). 

Age Class: An age interval, usually with a 10 to 20 year span, into which a vegetative area is 
classified (e.g. a 80-100 year old stand of bitterbrush). 

Allotment: An area of land designated and managed for the grazing of livestock by one or 
more livestock operators. It generally consists of public lands, but may include parcels of 
private or State owned lands. 

Allotment Categorization: As an aid to prioritize grazing allotments for development of 
management plans, BLM has placed all allotments into one of three categories: improve (I), 
maintain (M), or custodial (C). 

Allotment Management Plan: A written plan for livestock grazing management, including 
supportive measures if required, designed to attain specific multiple use management, 
sustained yield, economic and other goals in a grazing allotment. 

Alluvial Plain: A former floodplain, typically composed of several layers or terraces of sediment 
at different elevations and of different ages - the higher the elevation, the older the age. 

Alluvium: An accumulation of sediments deposited by streams or rivers. 

AUM (Animal Unit Month): The amount of forage necessary to support 5 sheep, or 1 cow and 
her calf, for one month. 

Biological Diversity (biodiversity): The distribution and abundance of different plant and animal 
species and communities within an area. 

Biomass: The total amount of living plants and animals above and below the ground in an 
area at a given time. 

Browse: (1) the part of shrubs, half shrubs, woody vines, and trees available for animal 
consumption; or (2) to search for or consume browse. 

Capability: The potential of the land to produce goods and services under a set of 
management practices and at a given level of management intensity. Depends on site 
conditions (such as climate, soils, geology), political, social, or economic constraints, as well 
as applications of management practices. 

GL-1 



Glossary Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Catastrophic Event: A large scale, high intensity natural disturbance that occurs infrequently 
(e.g. flood, fire). 

Channel: A waterway that contains moving water either periodically or continuously. A 
channel has a definite bed and banks. 

Channel Form and Function: Pertaining to the natural form and function of a waterway with 
definite bed and banks in a particular area; specifically, channel gradient, pool frequency, 
width to depth ratio, roughness, sinuosity, and other characteristics play a role in the 
dissipation of stream energy during high water flows, sediment transport and capture, and 
other stream channel functions. 

Common rooting depth: 

Community: An aggregation of cultural or biological units having relationships that are mutual 
with the environment and with each other; an assemblage of species at a particular time and 
place. 

Connectivity: A network of habitat patches linked by areas or corridors of like habitat; it 
affects how organisms can move through the landscape. 

Criteria to Meet Standard: Pertaining to the indicators used in the determination of the degree 
to which the condition of the land is consistent with the Standards for Rangeland Health and 
the Fundamentals of Rangeland Health. 

Deferred Grazing: A grazing system where use is postponed until a later (more appropriate) 
time (waiting for green-up or seed-drop, etc.). 

Deferred Rotation: Deferred grazing, but in a system of pastures where the deferred use is 
rotated between the pastures on a yearly basis (one year one pasture will receive deferred 
use, the next another, . . . ). 

Deposition: The settlement of material out of water and onto the stream or lake bed (opposed 
to erosion); accumulation of eroded materials around plants or in small basins; as sediment 
in alluvial fans, gullies, streams, lakes; or as dunes. 

Desired Beneficial Use: The use of water that is deemed beneficial and desirable; guidance 
for making determinations is contained in the Clean Water Act (Federal), Executive Order 
12088, Porter-Cologne Act (California), Clean Water Act (Nevada), and a Memorandum of 
Understanding between the California Water Resources Control Board, BLM, and others. 

Desired Condition: Land or resource conditions which are expected to result if planning goals 
and objectives are fully achieved. Formerly this was called "desired future condition". 

Desired Future Condition: The future condition of rangeland resources on a landscape scale 
that meet management objectives. Desired future condition is based on ecological (such as 
desired plant community), social, and economic considerations during the land and resource 
planning process. Desired future condition is usually expressed as ecological status of 



GL-2 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Glossary 

vegetation (species composition, habitat diversity, age, and size classes of species) and 
desired soil qualities (conditions of soil cover, erosion, compaction, loss of soil productivity). 

Desired Plant Community: The plant community that has been determined through a land use 
or management plan to best meet the plan's objectives for the site. 

Diversity: Physical, biological, or cultural variety. 

Ecosystem Elements: The basic building blocks of ecosystems. There are three fundamental 
types of ecosystem elements: components are the kinds and numbers of organisms and 
physical attributes that make up the ecosystem -- the "pieces"; structures refer to spatial 
distribution or pattern of these "pieces"; and processes refer to the flow or cycling of energy, 
materials, and nutrients through space and time. 

Edge/Edge Effect: Areas where two physical or biological zones meet. The increased 
diversity in these areas is known as the edge effect. 

Energy Flows: Pertaining to the flow of energy through an ecosystem; usually described as 
an "energy pyramid." The rates of energy flow can vary on rangelands in both space and 
time. An example of energy flow is - sunlight energy is captured and converted into 
carbohydrates by green plants (producers) through photosynthesis; deer (primary 
consumers) eat the plants; coyotes (secondary consumers) eat deer; and eagles (tertiary 
consumers) eat coyotes. 

Erosion: Detachment and movement of soil from the land by wind, water, or gravity. 

Exotic Species: A species of plant or animal that is not native to the area where it is found. 
Any species that is not indigenous, native, or naturalized. 

Facultative: Having the capacity to live under more than one specific set of environmental 
conditions, as an animal or plant that can live in either a wetland or upland environment 
(opposed to obligate). 

Floodplain: An alluvial plain caused by the overbank deposition of alluvial material. Typically 
appearing as flat expanses of land bordering a stream or river. Most floodplains are 
accompanied by a series of alluvial terraces of varying levels. 

Forage: Browse and herbage which is available and can provide food for animals or be 
harvested for feeding. 

Forb: (1) Any herbaceous plant other than those in the Gramineae (true grasses), Cyperaceae 
(sedges) and Juncaceae (rushes) families - i.e. any non-grasslike plant having little or no 
woody material on it; or (2) a broad-leaved plant whose above ground stem does not become 
woody or persistent. 

Fragmentation: Process of reducing the size and connectivity of vegetated stands and/or 
habitat that comprise a rangeland or forest; a measure of connectivity in vegetative and/or 
habitat conditions across a landscape. 



GL-3 



Glossar Y Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Fundamentals of Rangeland Health: As described in 43 CFR 4180; the conditions in which 
rangelands are in properly functioning physical condition, ecological processes are 
supporting healthy biotic populations and communities, water quality is meeting State 
standards and BLM objectives, and Special Status Species habitat is being restored or 
maintained. 

Guidelines for Livestock Grazing: Livestock grazing management tools, methods, strategies, 
and techniques designed to maintain or achieve healthy public lands; as defined by the 
Standards for Rangeland Health. 

Habitat: Natural environment of a plant or animal. 

Habitat Requirements: Pertaining to the biological and physical components of the 
environment that are required to meet the needs of a plant or animal. 

Herbaceous: Vegetation with little or no woody component; non-woody vegetation such as 
grasses and forbs. 

Herbage: The above ground material of any herbaceous plant (grasses and forbs). 

Indicator: Quantitative measure of an ecosystem element which is used to describe the 
condition of an ecosystem; changes in indicators over relatively short periods of time are 
used to measure affects of management. 

Key Area: A relatively small portion of land selected, based on its location, use, or grazing 
value, as a location for monitoring the effects of grazing use. It is assumed that key areas, if 
properly selected, will reflect the effects of current grazing management over all or a part of a 
pasture, allotment, or other grazing unit. 

Key Ecosystem Elements: A dislinct subset of ecosystem elements. They are the elements 
over which management and society have an influence. They form the basis for evaluating 
the effects of management on ecosystem sustainability. 

Key Species: (1) Species that, because of their importance, must be considered in a 
management program; or (2) forage species whose use shows the degree of use of 
associated species. 

Landscape (Scale): An area of interacting ecosystems where patterns are repeated because 
of geology, landform, soils, climate, biota, and human influences throughout the area. 
Applied in terms of 100's to 1000's of acres. 

Monitoring: The collection of information to determine the effects of resource management 
and to identify changing resource conditions or needs. 

Native (indigenous) Species: A species of plant or animal that naturally occurs in an area and 
that was not introduced by humans. 

Non-Use: AUMs that are normally available for use, but are not grazed through either the 
permittee's or BLM's request. 

GL-4 



Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Glossar y 



NorCal East: The area formerly designated as the Susanville District of BLM, currently 
consisting of the Surprise, Eagle Lake and Alturas Resource Areas; the area covered by the 
Susanville RAC. 

NorCal West: The area formerly designated as the Ukiah District of BLM, currently consisting 
of the Areata, Clear Lake and Redding Resource Areas; the area covered by the Ukiah RAC. 

Nutrient Cycle: Circulation of chemical elements, such as carbon or nitrogen, in specific 
pathways from the non-living (abiotic) parts of the environment into the organic substances 
(plants and animals), and then back again into abiotic forms. 

Obligate: Restricted to a particular set of environmental conditions, (opposed to facultative). 

Objective: A measurable description of a desired future condition that specifies what is to be 
accomplished, location, and timeframe. 

Original Use: The use of water in effect at passage of the 1978 amendments to the Federal 
Clean Water Act. 

Patch: A small (20-60 acre) part of rangeland or forest; an area of vegetation that is internally 
homogeneous, differing from the vegetation that surrounds it. 

Pedestaling: The occurrence of plants or rocks on pedestals means that the soil has eroded 
away from the base of the plant or rock and it has become slightly elevated above the eroded 
surface of the soil. The height of the pedestals and the degree of root exposure can serve as 
indicators of the degree of soil loss. 

Perennial Stream: A stream that flows throughout the year for many years. 

Permeability Rate (soil): The rate at which gases, liquids (water), or plant roots penetrate or 
pass through a bulk mass of soil or a layer of soil. 

Plant Community: Assemblage of plant populations in a defined area or physical habitat; an 
aggregation of plants similar in species composition and structure, occupying similar habitats 
over the landscape. 

Population Structure: The number of males and females in various age classes. 

Potential: The highest ecological status an area can attain given no political, social, or 
economic constraints; often referred to as the potential natural community. 

Potential Natural Community: The stable biotic (plant and/or animal) community that would 
become established on an ecological site if all successional stages were completed without 
human interference under present environmental conditions. 

Prescribed Fire (Prescribed Burn): A controlled wildland fire ignited by humans under 
specified conditions, to accomplish specific, planned resource objectives. This practice is 
also known as "controlled burning". 



GL-5 



Glossary Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



Prescribed Natural Fire: A wildland fire ignited by natural causes such as lightning or 
vulcanism. They are allowed to burn in designated areas under conditions carefully planned 
to provide for safety and control of the fire. 

Properly Functioning Condition (Riparian-wetlands): Riparian-wetland areas are functioning 
properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris is present to dissipate 
stream energy associated with high water flows, thereby reducing erosion and improving 
water quality; filter sediment, capture bedload, and aid in floodplain development; improve 
floodwater retention and groundwater recharge; develop root masses that stabilize 
streambanks against cutting action; develop diverse ponding and channel characteristics to 
provide the habitat and water depth, duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, 
waterfowl breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity. The functioning 
condition of riparian-wetland areas is influenced by land form, soil, water, and vegetation. 

Properly Functioning Condition (Uplands): Uplands are functioning properly when the existing 
vegetation and ground cover maintain soil conditions capable of sustaining natural biotic 
communities. The functioning condition of uplands is influenced by land form, soil, water, 
and vegetation. 

Public Lands: Those tracts of land owned by the people of the United States, that are 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

Reach: A continuous unbroken stretch of a stream with homogeneous characteristics; a 
section of stream between two tributaries of that stream. 

Recruitment: Addition to a plant or animal population from all sources, including reproduction, 
immigration, and stocking. 

Residual Mulch Level: The amount of vegetation left at the end of the grazing season. 

Residual Plant Cover: Standing herbaceous vegetation that has cured and become decayed. 
When these plants fall, they become litter. 

Resource Advisory Council (RAC): A group established pursuant to 43 CFR 1780 and other 
authorities to advise BLM on resource management issues. 

Rest: Leaving an area ungrazed, thereby foregoing grazing of one forage crop. Normally rest 
implies absence of grazing for a full growing season or during a critical portion of plant 
development. 

Rest-Rotation: A grazing system with several pastures, one of which receives no grazing use 
during a year. Each year, a different pasture is rested. 

Riparian: The transition area between an aquatic ecosystem and an adjacent terrestrial 
ecosystem identified by soil characteristics or distinctive vegetation communities that require 
free or unbound water. 

Scale: The degree of resolution used in observing and measuring ecosystem processes, 
structures and changes over space and time. 

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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Glossary 



Scour Erosion: The removal of a fairly uniform layer of soil or materials from the land surface 
by wind. 

Season of Use: The time during which livestock grazing is permitted on a given area, as 
specified in the grazing permit and/or terms and conditions. 

Sediment Entrapment: A key element of stream channel form restoration; the deposition and 
retention of sediment in streams with sufficient riparian vegetation present at or below the 
bank top to successfully entrap and retain sediment during runoff. 

Seeps: Groundwater discharge areas. In general, seeps have less water flow than a spring. 

Serai Stage (State): Pertaining to the successional stages of biotic communities. One of a 
series of biotic communities that follow one another in time on any given ecological site (See 
Succession). 

Sheet Erosion: The removal of a fairly uniform layer of soil or materials from the land surface 
by rainfall or runoff water. 

Sinuosity: Pertaining to the curves, bends, or turns in watercourses. 

Soil (Ground) Cover: The percentage of material, other than bare ground, covering the land 
surface. It may include live vegetation, standing dead vegetation, plant litter, cobble, gravel, 
stones, and bedrock. 

Soil Productivity: Capacity of a soil to produce biomass through plant growth. 

Special Status Species: Plant or animal species listed as endangered, threatened, candidate, 
or sensitive by Federal or State governments. 

Species: A fundamental category of plant or animal classification. 

Species Richness: Number of species, either in total or by some grouping scheme. 

Standards for Rangeland Health: A description of conditions needed to sustain public land 
health; relates to all uses of the public lands. 

Structural Diversity: The variety of the composition, abundance, spacing, size, and other 
attributes of plants in a community. 

Structure: Patterns of association (vertical, horizontal, or temporal) among ecosystem 
elements; e.g. plant communities, including the growth habits, life forms, and distribution of 
the species. 

Stubble Height Threshold: The specified minimum height (amount) of herbaceous vegetation 
required to be present in a given area after the livestock grazing period. 

Succession: The constantly occurring process of community change; it is the sequence of 
communities that replace one another in a given area over time; e.g. progressive 

GL-7 



Glossar y Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS 



development of vegetation after a fire (bare ground) towards its highest ecological expression, 
the climax community (old growth conifer). 

Suitability: Appropriateness of applying certain management practices to or allowing certain 
uses in a particular area of land. 

Suitable Habitat: The biological and physical components necessary to meet some or all of 
the needs of a species. 

Suspended Non-Use: AUMs withdrawn from authorized use; may potentially be re-authorized 
for use if range conditions improve. 

Sustainability: The ability to maintain diversity, productivity, resilience to stress, health, 
renewability, and yields of desired values, resource uses, products, or services over time in 
an ecosystem while maintaining its integrity. 

Technical Review Team: As described in 43 CFR 1784; a group formed by the Resource 
Advisory Council (RAC), BLM, or a RAC local team to gather and analyze data and develop 
recommendations to aid the decision making process. 

Terms and Conditions: The provisions and stipulations specified by the BLM as a part of a 
livestock grazing permit or other land use authorization. 

Transition Period: The period of time between completion and adoption of these standards 
and guidelines and their being placed in operational effect at the individual grazing permit 
terms and conditions level. 

Upland: Land at a higher elevation than the alluvial plain or low stream terrace; all lands 
outside the riparian-wetland and aquatic zones. 

Utilization: The proportion of a year's forage production that is consumed or destroyed by 
grazing animals. 

Vegetation (Plant) Community: An aggregation of plants similar in species composition and 
structure, occupying similar habitats over the landscape. 

Vegetation Corridors: See connectivity. 

Vegetation Type: A plant community with distinguishable characteristics. 

Viable populations: Populations of plants and/or animals that persist for a specified period of 
time across their range despite normal fluctuations in population and environmental 
conditions. 

Vigor (Plant): Pertaining to characteristics such as a mix of plants with normal growth on the 
basis of height, color, seed production, rhizome and stolon production, and annual biomass 
production. 



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Rangeland Health Standards & Guidelines EIS Glossary 



Wetlands: An area that is inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency 
and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in 
saturated soil conditions. 

Woody Riparian Species: Plant species consisting of wood such as trees, shrubs, or bushes 
found in riparian-wetland areas. 

BLM LIBRARY 

RS 150ABLDG. 50 

DENVER FEDERAL CENTER 

P.O. BOX 25047 

DENVER, CO 80225 



QL-9 ftU.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1997-584-938/79114 




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SF 85.35 .C2 R363 1997 
Rangeland health standards 
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