Sublette County Conservation District
Sublette County Conservation District
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Range Program

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The district began working with grazing permittees in 2009, monitoring utilization and collecting vegetation data. The program’s objective is to assist permittees and agencies with collecting data to be used in the development of defensible Grazing Permit Renewal decisions. Information the District gathers includes annual use and trend information, along with soil and ecological site inventory. Activities also include planning and participation in Monitoring Plan development, Rangeland Health Assessments and riparian Proper Functioning Condition assessments, as well as liaison between permittees and agency specialists.

Monitoring benefits both producers and agency officials in making management decisions. Annual Use Monitoring is basically measuring how much forage was used in the grazing season. This is important to document as grazing leases have terms and conditions that specify what level of utilization is acceptable. This is often 40-50% of current year’s growth, based on weight. Trend Monitoring is looking at changes in plant communities over longer periods of time (5-10yrs). Measures of plant communities often include composition by cover, production or frequency. These measurements can be compared against previous years to identify changes in community composition. If there are no changes, or indications of a shift towards a more desirable plant community, such as less bare ground or increased bunch grasses, then this may indicate current management is desirable. Ecological Site Inventories consist of describing the kinds and amounts of plants on sites that have similar soils and climatic conditions. These inventories can be useful to describe plant communities in large areas. The current communities can be compared to expected or desired conditions and used in making management decisions to either maintain or improve current conditions. 


Project Areas

North LaBarge Landscape Area

North LaBarge Common ~ 134,500 acres

The District has been involved with the allotment since 2009. We are working with permittees, monitoring utilization and collecting vegetation data that will be used in the 2012 Rangeland Health. The assessments are done to evaluate the “condition of the land”. The field work was completed in the summer of 2012 and a Standard Determinations document is expected in winter 2013       

Upper North Labarge Individual ~18,400 acres

The district became engaged in this allotment in 2010, to help the permittee develop an Annual Grazing Plan and monitor utilization levels in riparian areas.

Rye Grass Landscape Area

The Landscape area is made up of multiple allotments totaling approximately 38,000 acres. SCCD has been involved with utilization monitoring along with vegetation monitoring. The district is also helping to compile information and identify areas to visit for Range Health Assessments in 2012. The field was was completed in the summer of 2012 and a Standard Determinations document is expected in winter 2013

 Q5 Soaphole Allotment ~3,000 acres

SCCD was approached by permittee in 2011 to help develop and implement a monitoring program. Working with permittee and BLM, a plan was formulated and the district plans to continue annual data collection.

Boulder Landscape Area~100,000 acres

          The Boulder Landscape is comprised of multiple individual and common allotments. The district first became involved in this area in 2008, aiding in cooperative monitoring and data gather for Range Health Assessments. The assessments have been completed and standards determination document was released in spring 2012. An Environmental Assessment with proposed management alternatives is expected winter 2013.


Mesa ~55,800 acres

In 2009 SCCD aided in development of a monitoring plan for the allotment. Additionally, the district assists with annual utilization and trend data collection.

The BLM and JIO/PAPO have recently approved a habitat improvement project on the south end of the Mesa. A solar water well will be installed in an area that historically did not see much livestock use because the lack of water. The well will be used to better distribute livestock and reduce pressure on reclaimed areas. The well will also be a good watering source for many wildlife species. 

Link to info :

Click here to view an example of a Site Monitoring Plan 

Prospect Mountain ~49,000 acres

 The District was approached in winter of 2012 to help permittees develop an annual grazing plan. SCCD provided input and maps to develop a plan for the 2012 grazing season and will aid in monitoring annual use indicators. The district continues to aid in developing a monitoring plan that will include long term trend monitoring and annual use. 

Little Sandy  ~45,700 acres

The Conservation District has been working with stakeholders in development of a watershed based plan in response to a impairment listing of the Little Sandy River by Wyoming Dept. of Environmental Quality. Part of the plan will encompass inventory and monitoring needs. SCCD plans on starting some riparian inventory and monitoring in 2012. This effort is more fully explained here. (insert link to Little Sandy)

USFS Projects 

Starting in the summer of 2012, the district began collaboration with the Big Piney and Pinedale Ranger Districts to collect data on National Forest land. Historic nested frequency and line-point intercept transects were re-read and summarized to discern trend in vegetation composition trend. The monitoring effort will continue into the 2013 field season.


The NPL is a proposed gas field in southern Sublette County. As part of the planning process SCCD is undertaking a range inventory of the area. The inventory will consist of mapping ecological sites and describing plant communities, along with mapping fences, water sources, and wildlife habitat. The inventory will aid in identifying what is currently on the ground and where infrastructure (water wells, tanks, fences, etc.), or best management practice might be implemented to streamline management and reduce potential conflict. In this respect, this effort is not unlike the Conservation Planning process that the District often does with private landowners.

Permit Renewal Workshop Materials 
Workshop Presentations
Grazing Permit Renewal- Y2 Consultants, LLC
Standards and Guidelines- Y2 Consultants, LLC
Workbook References
Federal Agency Websites
Other NEPA References


Useful Links

 Jornada Experimental Range:

 Ecological Site Description System:

 Sublette County Map Server:

 Pinedale Field Office Resource Management Plan:

 BLM Mule Deer Projects

      Rye Grass:

Document List

Administrative Appeals in the BLM and USFS

Analysis of Influences on Vegetative Cover: A Monitoring Case Study

Being Engaged in NEPA Process as Rancher

BLM Grazing Regulations (43 CFR Part 4100)

BLM NEPA Handbook

Forest Service NEPA Handbook

Grazing and Livestock Use on National Forest System

Grazing Permit Renewal Powerpoint

ID, Define, & Resolve Resource Concerns

Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health

NEPA & the Permit Renewal Grazing Process

NEPA Handbook

NEPA Overview

NEPA Website References

Range-Field Technician

Range-Team Lead

Standards and Guidelines

Using Monitoring Data for Adaptive Management

Writing Your Own NEPA Alternative


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