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MULTIPLE USE GRAZING MANAGEMENT IN THE GRAND STAIRCASE ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

 

A tool provided to the Monument range staff by

the Southern Utah Land Restoration Project

 

Lead Authors:

James Catlin,[1] Joro Walker,[2] Allison Jones,1 John Carter,[3] and Joe Feller[4]

 

September, 2003

 

 

Acknowledgements. 

 

Pat Kimball was instrumental in this effort, as he manages the SULRP's Grazing Database. Expert peer review and helpful comments on this document were provided by Neil Cobb, Thomas Fleischner, Andrew Hartsig, Matthew Loesure, Carrie Norton, Elizabeth Painter, Tom Sisk, Peter Stacey, Martin Taylor, Ron Younger, and three anonymous peer reviewers.

 

 

GRAZING MANAGEMENT UNDER A

MULTIPLE USE MANDATE:

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

CHAPTER 1 – Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.1   The Monument in the context of southern Utah rangelands, and natural heritage . . . 1

1.2   What the BLM must do in this DEIS process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

1.3   How this document is organized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

 

CHAPTER 2 – Applicable Laws and Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2.1  Introduction and legal background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2.2    FLPMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

2.2.1   FLPMA balancing of competing resource values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2.2.2   FLPMA’s multiple use mandate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2.2.3   Preventing permanent impairment and unnecessary degradation. . . . . . . . . 11

2.2.4        Adherence to the Monument Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

2.3  Fundamentals and Standards and Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

2.4  Clean Water Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

2.5  Endangered Species Act and wildlife protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

2.6  National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.7  National Historic Preservation Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

2.8  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

 

CHAPTER 3 – Current Conditions in the Monument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

3.1 Ecological Health: identifying compromised habitat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

            3.1.1  Loss of riparian and spring habitat, and consequences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

            3.1.2  Changes in veg. composition, structure and biomass and consequences . .27

            3.1.3  Spread of exotic plants, and consequences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

            3.1.4. Imperilment of native species. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

3.2  Supporting evidence of ecological conditions in the Monument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

            3.2.1   GSENM’s assessments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

            3.2.2   Our own analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

3.3  Causes of above problems are tied to livestock grazing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

            3.3.1  Drought combined with livestock grazing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

3.3.2  Poor soils combined with livestock grazing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

3.3.3  Livestock grazing impacts on federally listed species . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

            3.3.4  Summary: livestock grazing impacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 

3.4  Limitations in monitoring/data collection and range health assessment methods and how they are applied and analyzed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49

3.4.1   BLM’s methods for tracking cattle numbers and actual use . . . . . . . . . . .49

3.4.2   Adequate grazing capacity analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

 

            3.4.3   Application of the range condition, and trend, concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

3.4.4        Inconsistencies found in PFC and rangeland health assessments . . . . . . 52

3.4.5   GSENM utilization measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52

3.5  Grazing Management and its contribution to habitat change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

            3.5.1   Grazing during the growing season. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

3.5.2. Rest - Rotational grazingeffectiveness is questioned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56

 

CHAPTER 4 – Legally Mandated Analyses and Recommended Management Prescriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

4.1  Complete evaluations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

4.2  Make determinations of what is causing impairment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

4.3  Capability Assessment – determining whether lands can sustain grazing. . . . . . . . . 60

      4.3.1 Capability Factor 1: Slope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

      4.3.2 Capability Factor 2: Soil Stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

      4.3.3 Capability Factor 3:  Forage Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

            4.3.4 Capability Factor 4: Distance from Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

            4.3.5 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62

4.4  Suitability - determining whether grazing is appropriate use of particular lands. . . .63

            4.4.1 Suitability in Addition to Capability Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

            4.4.2 Cultural Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65

            4.4.3 Recreational and Scenic Values. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

            4.4.4 Rangeland Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

            4.4.5 Streams, Riparian areas and Wetlands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

            4.4.6 Water Quality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

            4.4.7 Special Status Species. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68

            4.4.8 Biological Soil Crusts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69

            4.4.9 Land Use Designations and Land Use Plans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69

            4.4.10 Economic Values. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

            4.4.11 Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

4.5    Forage analysis/capacity model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

4.6    Determine whether habitats are functioning for TES species.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

4.7    Remedies the Monument must devise. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

4.7.1 Generic prescriptions we recommend. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

4.7.2 Grazing prescriptions that are inappropriate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

4.8  Summary, and role of science. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85

 

CHAPTER 5 – Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

5.1    The role of science in the Monument’s grazing program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

5.2    This DEIS in light of “Sustainable Working Landscapes” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

5.3    This DEIS as a model for other Resource Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90

 

Literature Cited

 

Appendix A: A science based tool for determining whether grazing is the cause of failure to meet rangeland health standards.

 

Appendix B: A science based tool for assessing available forage and grazing capacity of GSENM grazing allotments to meet rangeland health standards.

 

 


[1] Project Director, the Wild Utah Project.  68 South Main Street, Suite 400.  Salt Lake City, UT 84101

[2] Staff Attorney, Western Resource Advocates.  1471 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

[3] Staff Scientist for the Utah Office of the Western Watersheds Project.  250 S. Main, Mendon, UT 84325

[4] Professor of Law, Arizona State University, AZ