The purpose of this website is to make available Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data depicting rangeland health conditions of the 155,000,000 acres of leased grazing allotments under its administration. These agency data represent the most complete picture of the influence of land health and livestock grazing at landscape and regional scales. BLM has completed assessments that determine whether allotments meet or fail to achieve one or more fundamental land health standard, and, where failing, whether livestock grazing was a significant contributing factor. They have been compiled to help track, map, and examine achievements and non-achievements of allotment rangeland health. BLM does not maintain these data in electronic form.
PEER, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested grazing allotment land health standards records for BLM assessments conducted between 1997 and 2019 for 21,000 allotments. Each of the BLM datasets contained problems with accuracy, resolution, completeness, timeliness, omissions, and inconsistencies, and it was clear that the agency had not subjected them to their rigorous data quality standards. PEER compared these datasets to identify and correct these data quality problems to the best of our abilities, but ultimately reflect the condition of the data as received from BLM. The data quality issues were reconciled where possible, and were converted into geospatial format to provide the public with an opportunity to examine the significance of livestock grazing as a factor impacting rangeland health as reflected in the BLM's Land Health Standards evaluation data.
THE DATA - What are they and why are they important?
The BLM is required to ensure that rangeland health is not compromised
within the context of their multiple use mission. The agency has been
pivoting from management of land health at the local pasture and
allotment scale to the landscape and regional scales. The agency has
been conducting important assessments to identify significant factors
that impact rangeland health conditions now, and to provide a basis for
conducting vulnerability or risk assessment forecasts and intended to
inform agency resource management
planning and practices. but has not factored in the effects of the most
ubiquitous disturbance factor on grazing lands under their
administration – livestock grazing. Despite the centrality of ensuring
that livestock grazing not compromise rangeland health, the agency has
never maintained formal records in order that the significance of
livestock grazing impacts be investigated. The lack of this important
data precluded inclusion of livestock grazing in these regional
This project was undertaken to compile records gleaned from field
offices of land health assessments for 21,000 grazing allotments, clean
them up, and convert them to geospatial format in order that the broad
scale significance of livestock grazing on rangeland health could be
explored. Many factors impact rangeland health, from off highway
vehicles to drought, spread of invasive species to fire. The BLM records
reveal however, that livestock grazing is far and away the most
frequently cited significant cause of failure to meet rangeland health
standards across the grazing lands under the agency's administration.
The significance of livestock grazing management – rangeland treatments
and structural improvements as factors impacting rangeland health are
not factored in as ecological and environmental disturbances associated
with livestock grazing.
Rangeland Health Standards
Land health stewardship has been a challenge, and in 1995, formal regulations (43 CFR 4180.1 and 43 CFR 4180.2) defining the minimum rangeland health management requirements, and standards and guidelines for administration of
livestock grazing to make it clear that maintaining rangeland health must take precedence over land use. The regulations were enacted specifically to address the impacts of ongoing management practices that contributed to rangeland health degradation. Since its enactment, these regulations require that livestock grazing practices must ensure that:
"(a) Watersheds are in, or are making significant progress toward, properly
functioning physical condition, including their upland, riparian-wetland, and
aquatic components; soil and plant conditions support infiltration, soil moisture storage, and the release of water that are in balance with climate and landform and maintain or improve water quality, water quantity, and 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 or candidate threatened and endangered species, and other special status species." [60 FR 9969, Feb. 22, 1995, as amended at 71 FR 39508, July 12, 2006]
The standards and guidelines for grazing administration required that authorized officers ensure that:
"(i) Management practices maintain or promote adequate amounts of ground cover to support infiltration, maintain soil moisture storage, and stabilize soils;
(ii) Management practices maintain or promote soil conditions that support
permeability rates that are appropriate to climate and soils;
(iii) 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;
(iv) 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;
(v) 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;
(vi) Management practices maintain or promote the physical and biological conditions necessary to sustain native populations and communities;
(vii) Desired species are being allowed to complete seed dissemination in 1 out of every 3 years (Management actions will promote the opportunity for seedling
establishment when climatic conditions and space allow.);
(viii) Conservation of Federal threatened or endangered, proposed, candidate, and
other special status species is promoted by the restoration and maintenance of their habitats;
(ix) Native species are emphasized in the support of ecological function;
(x) 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;
(xi) 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.);
(xii) Continuous, season-long livestock use is allowed to occur only when it has been demonstrated to be consistent with achieving healthy, properly functioning ecosystems;
(xiii) Facilities are located away from riparian-wetland areas wherever they conflict
with achieving or maintaining riparian-wetland function;
(xiv) 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; and
(xv) 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." [60 FR 9969, Feb. 22, 1995, as amended at 61 FR 59835, Nov. 25, 1996; 71 FR 39508, July 12, 2006]
To achieve these objectives, the field offices are required to conduct periodic allotment rangeland health standards assessments to determine whether these basic requirements are met. If one or more rangeland health standard is found to have not been achieved, the significant factors contributing to this failure are required to be identified. If "… the authorized officer determines through standards
assessment and monitoring that existing grazing management practices or levels of grazing use on public lands are significant factors in failing to achieve the standards and conform with the guidelines that are made effective under this section, the authorized officer will, in compliance with applicable laws and with the consultation requirements of this part, formulate, propose, and analyze appropriate action to address the failure to meet standards or to conform to the guidelines." ([60 FR 9969, Feb. 22, 1995, as amended at 61 FR 59835, Nov. 25, 1996; 71 FR 39508, July 12, 2006])
These data are provided "as is" and will contain errors or omissions present in the agency's data as received. Please consult with local BLM offices where the original records are housed for any questions regarding any data.
BLM LAND HEALTH STATUS (2020) (blm_natl_grazing_allot_lhs2020.shp)
Description: BLM grazing allotment Land Health Standards evaluation records containing the most current land health status (1997 – 2019) and identifying allotment records that failed to achieve one or more standards and where livestock grazing was determined to have been a significant factor. The BLM does not maintain grazing allotment land health standards evaluation records in electronic format or in any centralized location. This dataset is the product of an effort to compile all allotment land health standards (LHS) evaluation records and to identify the most current evaluation as of 2020.
Three separate datasets were obtained from BLM through FOIA requests since 2008, each containing records from all 21,000 allotments. records obtained from BLM were compiled from scratch by field offices from original data sources in response to each FOIA request. These data were provided in spreadsheet format but were not examined by the agency to determine whether they met agency data quality standards. Once compiled, many records of the same evaluations were available for comparison and to help reconcile errors, omissions, and inconsistencies.Every effort was made to correct these data quality problems to produce a
single merged dataset containing the most current land health standards evaluation records for BLM's 21,000 livestock grazing allotments through 2019.
These data were then joined with the BLM National Grazing Allotment polygon file for spatial exploration. These records were provided by BLM "as is", and although every effort was made to reconcile errors and inconsistencies The User must be aware that these data may contain errors or omissions. These data are intended just for use for broad scale exploration of livestock grazing impacts on land health, as reflected in BLM's allotment land health standards evaluation records.
ALLOT_NO (The number that identifies an Allotment which is unique within the BLM administrative state.)
ALLOT_NAME (The name by which the allotment is commonly known.)
GIS_ACRES (This is a calculated value of area in units of acres based on the area field created by default within the ESRI polygon data structure, that includes both public and private lands)
ADMIN_ST (An administrative unit that identifies the state or geographic area which has administrative jurisdiction over lands, and cases BLM administrative office (which is subordinate to the state office) that has jurisdiction and/or management authority over lands within a geographic area.)
ADM_UNIT_CD (The BLM administrative unit/office that is a combination of Administrative State Code and Administrative Office Code that fully identifies the geographic area which has jurisdiction over the lands)
ST_ALLOT (This is a concatenation of two existing attributes but is not a substitute for having either of those two attributes. It is the existing unique code that allows identification of individual allotments throughout the entire United States.)
publicacres (Acres of public land within the allotment in the allotment Land Health Evaluation dataset compiled by BLM in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in 2020)
last_lheyr (The year of the last allotment land health evaluation or determination) determ2020 (The recorded information pertaining to the land health standards determination as received from BLM in the 2020 dataset)
blmcat2020 (The recorded land health standards CATEGORY as received from BLM in the 2020 dataset. CATEGORY A is assigned to allotments that achieve or are making significant progress towards achievement of land health standards, CATEGORY B and CATEGORY C are assigned to allotments failing to achieve land health standards and identify current livestock grazing as a significant cause of failure, CATEGORY D is assigned to allotments that fail to achieve land health standards where current livestock grazing is not identified as a significant cause, and DETERMINATION NOT COMPLETE assigned to allotments that have not had a land health standards evaluation since assessments began in 1997)
causes2020 (The recorded information pertaining the cause of causes of failure to achieve land health standards as received from BLM in 2020) notes2020 (Notes made when inconsistencies in BLM record information were noted)
causes2007 (The recorded information pertaining the cause of causes of failure to achieve land health standards as received in the first LHS dataset compiled by BLM in response to a FOIA request containing records through 2007)
causes2012 (The reconciled cause(s) of failure to achieve land health standards after merging of the first LHS dataset compiled by BLM in response to a FOIA request containing records through 2007 and a second later obtained containing records through 2012.)
fincat2020 (The BLM LHS Category records were not formatted uniformly, nor often filled in or filled in correctly. This attribute just represents a standardization of the 2020 reported BLM LHS Category)
last_lhe (Date of the most recent land health standards evaluation. The format of the original data were inconsistent and incomplete. The attribute last_lheyr was used for data reconciliation due to problems with recorded dates.)
lhs_2020 (The land health standards status as of 2020, based on the reconciliation of roughly 70,000 allotment records from the 2007, 2012, and 2020 allotment LHS datasets obtained from BLM. Most of these allotment records appeared to have been recompiled in response to each request. LHS classes: ALL STANDARDS MET, NOT MET - LIVESTOCK, NOT MET - CAUSE NOT IDENTIFIED, NOT MET - OTHER, and DETERMINATION NOT COMPLETE)
cat_2020 (The corrected BLM's land health standards categorical status as of 2020, based on the reconciled land health standards status as of 2020. The standard BLM LHS categories were ap;lied except in cases of ambiguity, such as when no causal factors were identified when an allotment failed to achieve land health standards. BLM's LHS Categories: CATEGORY A (ALL STANDARDS MET), CATEGORY B (NOT MET - LIVESTOCK), CATEGORY C (NOT MET LIVESTOCK), CATEGORY D (NOT MET - OTHER), and DETERMINATION NOT COMPLETE). Several other categories were added for the purposes of classification to address lack of clarity of status.)
suspaums (The number of historical permitted AUMs that have been suspended and may only be removed from suspension under the provisions of the grazing reculation at 43 CFR 4100.3-1 ((RAS) Allotment information Report downloaded 2-16-2022)
permaums (The permitted AUMs for the allotment (active) adjudicated to permit or lease holders for the allotment ((RAS) Allotment Information Report downloaded 2-16-2022)
susptmpaums (The number of permitted AUMs that have been temporarily suspended due to drought, treatment recovery needs, fire recovery needs, etc. ((RAS) Allotment Information Report downloaded 2-16-2022)
These data are provided by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) "as is" and might contain errors or omissions. The User assumes the entire risk associated with its use of these data and bears all responsibility in determining whether these data are fit for the Users intended use.
The information contained in these data is dynamic and may change over time. The data are not better than the BLM sources from which they were derived, and both scale and accuracy will vary across the data set. These data might not have the accuracy, resolution, completeness, timeliness, or other characteristics appropriate for applications that potential users of the data may contemplate. Raw data quality and accuracy varied by field office, so these data are most suited for broad scale exploration. These data are neither legal documents nor land surveys and must not be used as such. Official records may be referenced at most BLM offices. Please report any errors in the data to the BLM office from which it was obtained.
The BLM should be cited as the original data source in any products derived from these data. PEER should be cited as the source of the data layer containing BLM's compiled data. Any Users wishing to modify the data should describe the types of modifications they have performed. The User should not misrepresent the data, nor imply that changes made were approved or endorsed by BLM, PEER, or PEER contractors and partners. This data may be updated without notification by PEER as more data becomes available from the BLM.
PEER and PEER contractors and partners assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No warranty is made by PEER and PEER contractors and partners as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of these data for individual use or aggregate use with other data; nor shall the act of distribution to contractors, partners, or beyond, constitute any such warranty for individual or aggregate data use with other data. Although these data have been processed successfully, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by PEER or PEER contractors and partners regarding the use of these data for general or scientific purposes, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty. In no event shall PEER or PEER contractors and partners have any liability whatsoever for payment of any consequential, incidental, indirect, special, or tort damages of any kind, including, but not limited to, any loss of profits arising out of the use or reliance on the geographic data or arising out of the delivery, installation, operation, or support by PEER or PEER contractors and partners.
BLM LAND HEALTH STATUS (2020)
BLM grazing allotment Land Health Standards evaluation records containing the most current land health status (1997 - 2019), and identifying allotments that failed to achieve one or more standard where livestock grazing was determined to have been a significant factor.
See the metadata for additional information.
LHS Failures - Livestock (2020)
BLM grazing allotments failing Land Health Standards evaluations as of 2020 that identified livestock grazing as a significant causal factor.
Regional Significance of Livestock
Significance of livestock grazing as a cause of failure to meet land health standards at the Level III Ecoregional scale. It is based on the area of allotments failing due to livestock divided by the total area of allotment assessed through 2019. This metric indicates the sensitivity of the region to the stressors and disturbance of livestock. This metric is applied to allotments within the ecoregion, both assessed or unassessed. The User can see differences at the ecoregional scale that are unavailable at allotment scale.
BLM Management Category (2021)
CATEGORY I (Improve) Allotments where current livestock grazing mngt or level of use on public lands is, or is expected to be, a significant causal factor in the non-achievement of land health standards, or where a change in mandatory terms and conditions in the grazing authorization is or may be necessary.
CATEGORY M (Maintain) Allotments where land health standards are met or where livestock grazing on public lands is not a significant causal factor, or where current mngt is in conformance with guidelines. Allotments where an evaluation of land health standards has not been completed, but existing monitoring data indicates that resource conditions are satisfactory.
CATEGORY C (Custodial) Allotments where public lands produce less than 10% of the forage or are less than 10% of the land area.
BLM Mgnt Category I (IMPROVE) (2021)
Allotments identified by BLM in 2021 as “IMPROVE” Management status . CATEGORY "I" is applied to allotments where current livestock grazing management or level of use on public lands is, or is expected to be, a significant causal factor in the non-achievement of land health standards, or where a change in mandatory terms and conditions in the grazing authorization is or may be necessary.
LHS Failures due to Livestock (USGS)
This layer is provided for the purposes of comparison with the current map of rangeland health. It was compiled independently from the first of the raw datasets used in our compiled dataset. The protocol that we used was similar to but independent of these data. It is the USGS coding of a BLM LHS dataset compiled in response to a FOIA request by a private organization in 2008. This layer identified allotments that fail to meet any standard due to livestock. (Note: this dataset is only current through 2007). Please see:
Kari E. Veblen, David A. Pyke, Cameron L. Aldridge, Michael L. Casazza, Timothy J. Assal, Melissa A. Farinha, Monitoring of Livestock Grazing Effects on Bureau of Land Management Land, Rangeland Ecology & Management, Volume 67, Issue 1,
2014, Pages 68-77, ISSN 1550-7424, https://doi.org/10.2111/REM-D-12-00178.1.
GRSG Breeding Bird Density ( 25%)
GRSG Breeding Bird Density (50%)
GRSG Breeding Bird Density (75%)
GRSG Breeding Bird Density (100%)
ESRI file geodatabase of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) range-wide breeding densities at 25% (BreedingDensity25), 50% (BreedingDensity50), 75% (BreedingDensity75) and 100% (BreedingDensity100) of breeding population. The objective of this BLM project is to map high breeding densities of greater sage-grouse for use in conservation planning. This completion report provides two deliverables: 1) The analytical framework for evaluating options on where partners can deliver actions that will yield the highest return on their conservation investment, and 2) The GIS shapefiles delineating high breeding densities of sage-grouse for use by conservation planners. Maps developed here provide a large-scale view of the distribution and abundance of sage-grouse, but risks and opportunities vary widely. State game and fish agencies responsible for sage-grouse conservation and management can provide additional knowledge of sage-grouse habitat needs. We encourage federal agencies and other partners to consult with their respective state wildlife agencies before implementing sage-grouse conservation actions.
A major goal in greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) conservation is to spend limited resources conserving large and functioning populations efficiently. We used lek-count data (n = 4,885) to delineate high abundance population centers that contain 25, 50, 75, and 100% of the known breeding population for use in conservation planning. Findings show sage-grouse breeding abundance is highly clumped from range-wide to province and state-wide analysis scales. Breeding density areas contain 25% of the known population within 3.9% (2.92 million ha) of the species range, and 75% of birds are within 26.9% of the species range (20.4 million ha). Breeding bird abundance varies by Sage-grouse Management Zones, with Zones I, II, and IV containing 83.7% of all known sage-grouse. Zone II contains a particularly high density of birds which includes 40% of the known population and at least half of the highest density breeding areas range-wide. Despite high bird abundance in Zones I, II, and IV, maintaining current distribution of sage-grouse depends upon effective conservation in each U.S. state and Canadian province. For example, each of the 11 states that contain sage-grouse have ?1 landscape with enough breeding birds to meet the 75% breeding density threshold. Federal, state and private lands all play a role in sage-grouse conservation. On average, surface ownership within 75% breeding areas was 58.59% Federal, 35.99% privately owned, and 5.39% State lands. Diversity in surface and subsurface (e.g., mineral rights) ownership within states and provinces will play a major role in the approach used to maintain and enhance priority populations. Maps developed here provide a vision for decision makers to spatially prioritize conservation targets, but risks and opportunities vary dramatically in each state and province. More importantly, state and provincial game and fish agencies responsible for sage-grouse conservation and management have additional knowledge of seasonal habitat needs outside the breeding season and other data useful in decision-making. We encourage federal agencies and other partners to consult states before implementing sage-grouse conservation actions. Additionally, users are encouraged to contact their state game and fish agencies for similar state-level planning maps. States have additional planning information to help users make informed local-scale decisions prior to project implementation.
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
This layer shows the geographic boundaries of the ACEC within the BLM lands. ACECs are where special management attention is required to protect and prevent irreparable damage to important historic, cultural, or scenic values, fish and wildlife resources or other natural systems of processes, or to protect life and safety from natural hazards.' Modified for the GRSG CEA analysis effort by including PAD-US GAP_STATUS_CODEs to determine level of protection and selecting only those equal to 1 or 2.
National Conservation Areas (NLCS)
This layer shows the BLM National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Cooperative Management and Protection Areas, Forest Reserves, National Conservation Areas, National Monuments, and Outstanding Natural Areas.
This dataset is a subset of the official national dataset, containing features and attributes intended for public release. The Implementation Guide represents the official national dataset from which this dataset was derived.
Western Level III Ecoregions
Cold Deserts Level II Ecoregion
Level II Cold Deserts ecoregion
GRSG Priority Habitat Mgnt Areas
Greater Sage-grouse priority habitat management areas (PHMAs) from each individual BLM ARMP and ARMPA/Record of Decision (ROD), and for subsequent updates.
GRSGe General Habitat Mgnt Areas
Greater Sage-grouse general habitat management areas (GHMAs) from each individual BLM ARMP and ARMPA/Record of Decision (ROD), and for subsequent updates.
This dataset contains the polygons of the BLM National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, and Other Related Lands. In June 2000, the BLM responded to growing concern over the loss of open space by creating the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The NLCS brings into a single system some of the BLM's premier designations. The Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, and Other Related Lands represent three of these eleven premier designations. By putting these lands into an organized system, the BLM hopes to increase public awareness of these areas' scientific, cultural, educational, ecological and other values. The data standard for these boundaries will assist in the management of all eleven designations within the NLCS. Particularly, NLCS data pertains to the following BLM groups and their purposes: Land Use Planners, GIS Specialists, NLCS team leads, BLM managers, and public stakeholder groups. online link: https://gis.blm.gov/EGISDownload/LayerPackages/BLM_National_NLCS_Wilderness_and_WildernessStudyAreas_poly.zip
Wild horse and burro herd management areas. See metadata for details. Online Linkage: https://gis.blm.gov/EGISDownload/LayerPackages/BLM_National_Wild_Horse_and_Burro.zip
Ecosystem Resistance & Resilience
This layer is a backdrop to explore the distribution of allotments failing to meet LHS standards due to grazing against an Index of relative ecosystem resilience to soil impacts. This dataset was compiled to predict an area's resistance to soil disturbance and the potential for establishment of cheatgrass based on underlying soil temperature and moisture regimes. We resampled the original rrClass.tif downloaded from: https://map.sagegrouseinitiative.com/ecosystem/ "Ecosystems R & R Classes gridded data" to a coarse 1x1 km resolution which was then converted to vector format for purposes of general data exploration in this portal and due to data size limitations for this portal.
BLM TerrADat terrestrial sample plots
The BLM Assessment, Inventory, Monitoring (AIM) terrestrial sampling plots includes monitoring data collected nationally to understand the status, condition, and trend of resources on BLM lands. They also include rangeland health assessment indicators (prefix RH_) in many allotments. A large number are found within allotments that have not yet had a Land Health Standards evaluation (DETERMINATION NOT COMPLETE).
BLM AquADat Lotic Mon. Locations
This layer includes monitoring data collected nationally to understand the status, condition and trend of Lotic resources on BLM lands (AquADAT). These data contain formation on watershed function and instream habitat quality, biodiversity and riparian habitat quality, and water quality. This dataset may provide field indicator information regarding the land health condition in allotments that have not had a formal Land Health Standards assessment.
U.S. Drought Monitor Map 9/29/2021
The U.S. Drought Monitor Released 20210929 Valid 8am EDT 20210928 for purposes of regional data exploration. Updated maps are available for download at: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DmData/GISData.aspx
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