Sheep move through public lands near Shoshone, Idaho
Under its multiple-use and sustained yield mandates, the BLM manages public rangelands for various uses and values, including livestock grazing, recreational opportunities, healthy watersheds, and wildlife habitat. These lands preserve the open spaces that continue to shape the character of the West.
The overall goal of the BLM’s rangeland management program is to ensure the health and productivity of public rangelands for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
To achieve desired conditions on the public lands, the BLM uses rangeland health standards and guidelines. The BLM developed these standards and guidelines in the 1990s with input from citizen-based Resource Advisory Councils across the West. Standards describe specific conditions needed for public land health, such as the presence of streambank vegetation and adequate canopy and ground cover. Guidelines are the management techniques designed to achieve or maintain healthy public lands, as defined by the standards. For example, this may include seed dissemination and periodic rest, or deferment, from grazing in specific allotments during critical growth periods.
The BLM manages livestock grazing on 155 million acres of those lands. The terms and conditions for grazing on BLM-managed lands (such as stipulations on forage use and season of use) are set forth in the permits and leases issued by the BLM to public land ranchers.
Photo by BLM.