The proposed rule would apply standards for rangeland health to all BLM-managed public lands and uses, including watershed function, ecological processes, water quality, and wildlife habitat.
According to the definitions, land enhancement means any infrastructure or other use related to the public lands that is designed to improve production of forage, improve vegetative composition, direct patterns of use to improve ecological condition, provide water, stabilize soil and water conditions, promote effective wild horse and burro management, or restore, protect, and improve the condition of land health or fish and wildlife habitat.
The term includes, but is not limited to, structures, treatment projects, and the use of mechanical devices or landscape modifications achieved through mechanical means.
Wild horse and burro management was not defined, but generally equates to population reduction, to be achieved by helicopters, baited traps, wranglers and/or pesticides, so the regulation could provide the authority to reduce AMLs and zero-out more HMAs.
The rule would direct land managers to identify and prioritize lands and waters through the land management process that require habitat restoration work, such as removing invasive species or restoring streambanks, according to today’s news release.
Publication in the Federal Register will initiate a 75-day public comment period, accompanied by five information forums to discuss the details of the rule.