WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management has announced 11 demonstration projects in six states for its outcome-based grazing authorizations initiative, which is designed to provide BLM managers and grazing permit holders greater flexibility in the management of permitted livestock.
Five of the projects are in northern Nevada, including the Winecup-Gamble Ranch and the Elko Land and Livestock Company, a Newmont subsidiary that owns and operates the TS, Horseshoe, Big Springs and IL ranches.
This initiative emphasizes the Trump Administration’s goal of promoting shared conservation stewardship of public lands while supporting uses such as livestock grazing, according to an announcement from the BLM.
“Farmers and ranchers know the wildlife and the land they work better than anyone; it only makes sense that we would enlist them in conservation efforts,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in launching the program. “One of my top goals is for the government to be a better neighbor, land manager and partner. I think it’s a great step in that direction. I applaud the team at BLM for coming up with this innovative program.”
The flexibility allowed under the outcome-based grazing authorizations, which were announced in September 2017, will demonstrate management practices that BLM managers and livestock operators can use to respond to changing, on-the-ground conditions such as wildfires, high moisture years, or drought. This will better ensure healthy rangelands, high-quality wildlife habitat, and economically sustainable ranching operations, the BLM reported.
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“The demonstration projects will play an important part in establishing outcome-based grazing authorizations as a standard practice,” said Brian Steed, Deputy Director of Programs and Policy. “We will consider the success of the demonstration projects as we develop guidance for future authorizations.”
Outcome-based grazing emphasizes conservation performance, ecological, economic and social outcomes and cooperative management of public lands. The BLM said this initiative will help demonstrate that permitted livestock grazing on public lands can operate under a less rigid framework than is commonly used in order to better reach agreed upon habitat and vegetation goals.
For example, one of the improvements might involve giving operators the leeway to turn out cattle on young cheatgrass, while the plants are still palatable to cattle.
The projects will be used as models for developing cooperative monitoring plans and land health evaluations that will be implemented in future authorizations under this program.
“Everybody’s going to share best practices and how they work things out,” BLM Public Affairs Officer Greg Deimel told the Elko Daily Free Press.
Other authorized projects in Nevada will be at the Willow Ranch at Battle Mountain, Smith Creek Ranch at Carson City, and John Uhalde and Company in Ely.