PEER creates a BLM Rangelands Health map-

Grazing activists are going to cheer an  interactive map created by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).

As they sent their comments on the Greater sage grouse to the US. Fish and Wildlife Service, PEER wrote:

The comments are based on analysis of data available for viewing on PEER’s new grazing website, which features an interactive map combining range health data received from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with high resolution satellite imagery to enable comparison of BLM’s data with ground conditions that are visible even to the untrained eye. The website represents the most complete and up-to-date look at the results of BLM’s land health status (LHS) evaluations of roughly 20,000 BLM grazing allotments across the West, results that PEER obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. [boldface ours].

This map will be useful not only to the government in evaluating the grazing allotments as they prepare (possibly) to arrest the decline of the sage grouse, it will be of great use to activists, outdoors enthusiasts, scientists, photographers, and others not readily apparent. Even the curious citizen can use the map see where the BLM grazing allotments are located. Given the sorry state of public knowledge of this, the map has potential for informed citizenship.

The reason for the creation of the map is explained by PEER. They believed the BLM was deliberately overlooking grazing impacts, and not bringing forth data they already possessed.

In 2010, BLM launched an ambitious regional ecological assessment program (Rapid Ecoregional  Assessments or REAs) the objective of which was to document current status and forecast future  vulnerability of resource conditions with respect to significant disturbance factors. Livestock grazing was  identified by participating scientists in a number of ecoregions as a significant “change agent” or cause of a wide range of ecological and environmental impacts. BLM elected, however, to exclude livestock grazing  from the assessments, citing litigation concerns and data availability.

Because the raw data is not intuitive, the map also supplements with satellite images so visual conditions on the ground can be seen — cattle trails, denuded areas, and the like.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

15 Responses to Wha ho! Interactive grazing allotment map

  1. Garry Rogers says:

    YaHOOO!! Aerial photo maps of BLM grazing allotments have been available on line for several years, but they did not show BLM’s assessments. We’ve all known the BLM assessments are hogwash, now let’s see some local citizen naturalist projects to visit the allotments and get some photographs.

  2. Garry Rogers says:

    I reblogged this story. Thanks for catching it.

  3. Chris Harbin says:

    A great tool!

  4. Ed Loosli says:

    Thank you, thank you PEER… This map in amazing and so enlightening. Wow!! The only thing I think I am missing (not sure) is the entire BLM holdings that also show where no domestic livestock grazing is allowed. Are the non-allotment BLM lands also on this map, as maybe I am just not reading it correctly??

  5. Amre says:

    Thanks for the link, Ralph!

  6. Susan Carter says:

    herd Management Areas were “established for the maintenance of Wild Horse and Burros.” 43 CFR 4710.1-3
    Help us get the cattle off!
    Join with Wild Horse Advocate groups.

  7. Thanks for noting our efforts, Ralph! Stay tuned for further updates and analyses about the state of BLM grazing lands–and support our efforts at

    • Scott Slocum says:

      PEER is a quietly impressive organization; I realize now that I’ve heard of its accomplishments, but I hadn’t heard about it “protecting employees who protect our environment.” Very cool, thank you.

  8. DLB says:

    I hope they come out with something similar for allotments managed by the FS.

  9. Cody Coyote says:

    Now if we could only add in Forest Service allotments as well…in my neck of the woods ( NW Wyoming ) the USFS public graze is very substantial since the BLM lands are semi-arid without a lot of perennial water.

  10. Is it possible to get the names of the ranchers or other individuals who hold the leases on these BLM lands?

    • Jim Hammett says:

      That information is available through BLM’s RAS system. With the allotment number or name, you can go in and run queries to get that information. It is in spreadsheet form for every BLM District.

  11. William Boothe says:

    I looked at the map and saw entire allotments in Lakeview, Oregon District in red indicating that those allotment are not meeting standards. That is not an accurate representation of the data or the conditions on the ground. One of the allotments colored red is over 500,00 acres and the area identified as not meeting one standard was 5 miles on one creek, and that creek has been excluded from livestock grazing since 1998. Other allotments in the same area that are colored red have meet the standards in recent assessments (2013), as problems with springs and exclosures were corrected. A more accurate and updated map of the Lakeview District would show only a couple of small areas not meeting standards. We have been working hard for 30 years to improve grazing management and range conditions. I believe the data we have illustrates an improvement in range condition over the last 30 years and is in conflict with the map I saw on the web site.

    • Nancy says:

      “We have been working hard for 30 years to improve grazing management and range conditions”

      That’s good to hear William, thanks for the effort.


November 2014


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey