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Full text of "Draft environmental statement on grazing management in the Missouri Breaks of Montana"

SSOURI 
BREAKS 

Grazing Environmental Statement 

maev 






DEPARTMENT OF THE1NTERIOR 
^) BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 
'MONTANA STATE OFFICE 




Bureau of Land Management 

Library 

Denver Service Center 



NOTICE 
(Attach to inside front cover of Draft) 

This draft environmental statement should be 
used in conjunction with the final environmental 
statement. The final statement incorporates this 
document by reference and includes the modifica- 
tions and corrections which should be made to the 
draft. The final statement also includes a record of 
public comments on this draft and the responses 
to those comments. 



BLtf Library 

D-553A, Buildir>g50 

Dexv. »r I od?r^I Center 

P. 0. Bcx2£C47 c R 

Denver, CO 80325-0047 -> c 



DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 






DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT 

ON 
GRAZING MANAGEMENT IN THE 
MISSOURI BREAKS OF MONTANA 



Prepared By 

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 



STATE DIRECTOR 
MONTANA STATE OFFICE 



Bureau of L,,- Bf|| 

- \r-j 
Denver Service Center 



SUMMARY 
Draft (x) Final ( ) Environmental Statement 

Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management 

1. Type of Action : Administrative (x) Legislative ( ) 

2. Brief Description of Action ; The Bureau of Land Management proposes to 
implement an improved grazing management program in the "Missouri Breaks" area 
of central Montana. The proposed action involves nearly 2,200,000 acres of 
public land intermingled with over 6,300,000 acres of state and private land. 
Components of the proposed action are: 

A. Continued operation of 42 existing Allotment Management Plans (AMPs) . 

B. Revision of 10 existing AMPs. 

C. Implementation of 266 proposed AMPs. 

D. Less intensive management on approximately 251,000 acres of public 
land. 

E. Continuation of unallotted status on approximately 31,000 acres of 
public land. 

F. Construction of various range improvements necessary to implement the 
grazing systems included in the proposed and revised AMPs. 

G. An overall reduction in livestock use of one percent (ranging from 
+158 percent to -58 percent on individual allotments) . 

3. Summary of Environmental Impacts : Vegetation cover and litter would 
increase thereby reducing erosion and improving watershed conditions. Sedi- 
ment yield would be reduced by approximately 186,000 tons annually. Although 
livestock distribution would be improved, concentrations of livestock would 
continue near water sources. Where grazing systems are implemented, desirable 
forage species would increase and vegetation vigor and reproduction would be 
improved. An increase of about 24,000 AUMs (8 percent increase from initial 
stocking proposed) is projected by the year 2000. There would be an increase 
in the amount of range in excellent condition (270,000 acres) and a decrease 
in the amount in poor condition (2,600 acres) . Overall, wildlife population 
numbers would increase slightly. Disturbance of archaeological and historical 
resources would occur due to construction of range improvements and livestock 
trampling. The proposed range improvements would slightly reduce visual 
quality; however, recreational opportunities, primarily hunting, would be 
improved. The additional forage resulting from AMP implementation would 
result in a small increase ($284,000 yearly) in personal income. The 
construction expenditures for the range improvements would result in a more 
significant ($1,532,000), though short-term, increase in income. 

4. Alternatives Considered 

A. Continuation of the Present Grazing Management Program (No Action) 

B. Elimination of Livestock on Public Lands 

C. Reduced Levels of Livestock Use 

D. Livestock Forage Maximization 

5 - Comments Requested From the Following : 
see attachment 

6. Date Draft Made Available to EPA and the Public: 



ATTACHMENT 

Comments on the Draft Environmental Statement will be requested from the 
following agencies, interest groups, and individuals: 

Federal 

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 

Army Corps of Engineers 

Department of Agriculture 

Forest Service 

Soil Conservation Service 
Department of Commerce 
Department of the Interior 

Bureau of Indian Affairs 

Bureau of Mines 

Bureau of Reclamation 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

Geological Survey 

Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service 

National Park Service 
Environmental Protection Agency 

Congress ional 

Office of Congressman Marlenee 
Office of Congressman Williams 
Office of Senator Baucus 
Office of Senator Melcher 

Montana - State Agencies 

Association of State Grazing Districts 

Department of Community Affairs 

Department of Fish and Game 

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation 

Department of State Lands 

Governor's Office 

Historical Society 

Old West Regional Commission 

County Commissioners 
Blaine County 
Chouteau County 
Fergus County 
Garfield County 
Judith Basin County 
McCone County 
Musselshell County 
Petroleum County 
Phillips County 
Valley County 

Local Government 
Fort Benton Mayor 
Glasgow Mayor 
Jordan Mayor 



I 

Lewis town Mayor 
Malta Mayor 
Miles City Mayor 
Roundup Mayor 
Stanford Mayor 
Winnett Mayor 
Wolf Point Mayor 

Other Organizations 

Ada County Fish and Game League (Idaho) 

American Fisheries Society 

American Horse Protective Association 

Audubon Society 

Badlands County Cooperative State Grazing District (CSGD) 

Chain Buttes CSGD 

Crooked Creek CSGD 

Defenders of Wildlife 

Flatwillow CSGD 

Friends of the Earth 

Grassrange CSGD 

Indian Butte CSGD 

Izaak Walton League of America 

Montana Farm Bureau 

Montana Farmers Union 

Montana Historical Society 

Montana Public Lands Council 

Montana Stockgrowers Association 

Montana Wilderness Association 

Montana Wildlife Federation 

Montana Woolgrowers Association 

National Council of Public Land Users 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association, Inc. 

Northern Plains Resource Council 

Pacific Legal Foundation 

Phillips County Cowbelles 

Phillips County Livestock Association 

Phillips County Soil and Water Conservation District 

Public Lands Council 

Sierra Club 

Society for Range Management 

South Phillips County CSGD 

The Humane Society of the United States 

Valley County Soil and Water Conservation District 

Weede CSGD 

Wild Horse Organized Assistance 

Wilderness Society 

Wildlife Society 

Williams Coulee CSGD 

Winnett CSGD 

Individuals 

James Morgan (plaintiff in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. et 

al., vs. Rogers C.B. Morton et al.) 



in 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION - CHAPTER ONE 



Page 



SETTING 1_1 

MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE AND RESOURCE COORDINATION 1-4 

GRAZING MANAGEMENT PROGRAM 1-4 

Livestock Forage Allocation 1-4 

Allotment Management Plans 1-11 

Objectives 1-11 

Grazing Systems 1-13 

Rest Rotation Grazing 1-13 

Deferred Rotation Grazing 1-13 

Seasonal Grazing 1-16 

Range Improvements 1-16 

Monitoring and Evaluation 1-16 

Benefit/Cost Analysis 1-23 

Non-AMP Allotments 1-2 3 

Unallotted Public Lands 1-2 3 

IMPLEMENTATION 1-2 3 

INTERRELATIONSHIPS 1-25 
Bureau of Land Management - The Upper Missouri 

1-25 
1-27 
1-27 

Environmental Protection Agency 1-27 

Forest Service 1-2 8 

Soil Conservation Service 1-28 

Montana Department of Fish and Game 1-2 8 

Montana Department of State Lands 1-28 

Montana Cooperative State Grazing Districts 1-29 

Old West Regional Commission 1-29 

Private Grazing Associations 1-29 



Wild 


and Scenic 


River 


Bureau 


of Indian , 


affairs 


Fish ai 


-id Wildlife 


Service 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT - CHAPTER TWO 

CLIMATE AND AIR QUALITY 2-1 

TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY 2-1 

SOILS 2-3 

WATER RESOURCES 2-12 

VEGETATION 2-17 

WILDLIFE 2-26 

PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC FEATURES 2-36 

VISUAL RESOURCES 2-44 

RECREATION 2-48 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 2-70 

LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 2-8 5 

Land Ownership 2-8 5 

Livestock Grazing 2-8 5 

Wilderness 2-86 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS - CHAPTER THREE 

PROCEDURES AND ASSUMPTIONS 3-1 

CLIMATE AND AIR QUALITY 3-2 

GEOLOGY 3-2 

SOILS 3-2 

WATER RESOURCES 3-6 

VEGETATION 3-7 

WILDLIFE 3-16 

PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC FEATURES 3-23 

VISUAL RESOURCES 3-25 

RECREATION 3-28 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 3-31 

LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 3-3 5 

Livestock Grazing 3-3 5 

Wilderness 3-39 

MITIGATING MEASURES - CHAPTER FOUR 

MITIGATING MEASURES 4-1 

Water Resources 4-1 



Vegetation 4 1 

Wildlife 4-1 

Prehistoric and Historic Features 4-2 

Visual Resources 4-2 

Recreation 4-2 

Wilderness 4-2 

STUDIES AND MONITORING PROGRAMS 4-4 

RESIDUAL ADVERSE IMPACTS - CHAPTER FIVE 

SOILS 5-1 

WATER RESOURCES 5-1 

VEGETATION 5-1 

WILDLIFE 5-2 

PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC FEATURES 5-2 

VISUAL RESOURCES 5-2 

RECREATION 5-4 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 5-4 

LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 5-4 

Livestock Grazing 5-4 

Wilderness 5-4 

SHORT TERM USES VS LONG TERM PRODUCTIVITY - CHAPTER 6 

SOILS 6-1 

WATER RESOURCES 6-1 
VEGETATION * 6-1 

WILDLIFE 6-1 

PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC FEATURES 6-2 

VISUAL RESOURCES 6-2 

RECREATION 6-2 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 6-2 

LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 6-2 

Livestock Grazing 6-2 

Wilderness 6-2 



IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENTS OF RESOURCES - 
CHAPTER 7 

SOILS 7-1 

WATER RESOURCES 7-1 

VEGETATION 7-1 

WILDLIFE 7-1 

PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC FEATURES 7-1 

VISUAL RESOURCES 7-1 

RECREATION 7-1 

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS 7-1 

LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 7-2 

Livestock Grazing 7-2 

Wilderness 7-2 

ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION - CHAPTER EIGHT 
CONTINUATION OF THE PRESENT GRAZING MANAGEMENT 

PROGRAMS 8-1 

ELIMINATION OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING ON PUBLIC LAND 8-12 

REDUCED LEVELS OF LIVESTOCK USE 8-16 

LIVESTOCK FORAGE MAXIMIZATION 8-22 

CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION - CHAPTER NINE 9-1 

APPENDICES 

APPENDIX 1 - METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING LIVESTOCK 

FORAGE ALLOCATION AND STOCKING RATES A-l 

APPENDIX 2 - RANGE IMPROVEMENTS BY AMP A-ll 
APPENDIX 3 - DESIGN FEATURES FOR GRAZING SYSTEMS 

AND RANGE IMPROVEMENTS A-2 5 

APPENDIX 4 - DATA ON INDIVIDUAL AMPs A-37 
APPENDIX 5 - THE EFFECTS OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING ON SOILS A-49 
APPENDIX 6 - EXISTING AND PROJECTED RANGE CONDITION 

AND VEGETATIVE TYPES - BY AMP A-53 

APPENDIX 7 - RANGE SITES A-89 



APPENDIX 8 - VISUAL RESOURCES A-113 

APPENDIX 9 - DYNAMIC REGIONAL ANALYSIS MODEL (DYRAM) A-121 

APPENDIX 10 - METHODOLOGY FOR PROJECTING RANGE 

CONDITION A-123 

GLOSSARY G-l 

REFERENCES R-l 



CHAPTER 1 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



CHAPTER 1 
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



The Bureau of Land Management proposes an 
improved grazing management program involving 
1,047 allotments and approximately 2,200,000 
acres of public land in central Montana. The pro- 
posed grazing management program includes: (1) 
continued operation of 42 existing specific grazing 
plans or allotment management plans (AMPs) en- 
compassing 485,355 acres of public land intermin- 
gled with 158,891 acres of non-federal land, (2) 
revision of 10 existing AMPs including 108,733 
acres of public land and 30,643 acres of non-feder- 
al land, (3) implementation of 266 proposed AMPs 
covering 1,377,947 acres of public land and 
852,823 acres of non-federal land, (4) less inten- 
sive grazing management on approximately 
251,000 acres of public land not included in AMPs, 
and (5) continuation of unallotted status (not allot- 
ted to livestock grazing) of approximately 30,612 
acres of public land. Allotment management plans 
would include establishment of grazing systems 
(seasonal, deferred rotation, rest rotation, or a com- 
bination of one or more of these systems) and 
supporting range improvements that are designed 
to meet identified resource objectives. Range im- 
provements include nearly 551 miles of fence, 41 
cattleguards, 436 stockwater reservoirs, 34 wells, 
25 spring developments, nearly 60 miles of water 
pipelines, 74 stockwater tanks, 25 rainwater catch- 
ments, and vegetation manipulation practices in- 
cluding 2,253 acres of contour furrowing, 2,236 
acres of sagebrush spraying, and 10,850 acres of 
plowing and seeding. Approximately 17,244 acres 
would be directly affected by range improvements. 
Less intensive management on non-AMP areas in- 
cludes grazing permits specifying the numbers of 
animals to be grazed, the seasons of use, and any 
other terms or conditions deemed appropriate by 
the Secretary of the Interior for management of the 
lands. The proposed grazing program would be ini- 
tiated over a period of four years. 

The purpose of the proposed grazing manage- 
ment program is to manage the vegetation re- 
source to improve or stablize range conditions 
while (1) providing livestock forage for dependent 
users, (2) protecting watershed values through re- 
duction of erosion and enhancement of water qual- 
ity, (3) protecting or enhancing wildlife habitat, and 
(4) safeguarding other environmental values. A total 
of 291,502 animal unit months of forage (an animal 
unit month or AUM is the amount of forage neces- 
sary to sustain one cow or its equivalent for one 
month) would be allocated to livestock due to con- 
tinuation or implementation of existing, revised, and 
proposed AMPs. This is a reduction of approxi- 



mately 2,999 AUMs or 1 percent from the current 
situation. Appendix 4 provides specific AMP allot- 
ment allocations. An additional 57,896 AUMs would 
continue to be allocated on non-AMP areas. Table 
1-1 provides data on the allocation of annual vege- 
tation production to livestock and other consump- 
tive and non-consumptive uses. Appendix 1 in- 
cludes a detailed explanation of the allocation 
methodology. Table 1-2 shows the livestock forage 
allocation (in AUMs) over time. 

The preparation and analysis of the proposed 
action is based on several assumptions. These as- 
sumptions are: (1) the BLM would receive funding 
to make the range improvements within the speci- 
fied time periods, (2) the personnel would be avail- 
able to carry out the related studies, monitoring, 
and evaluation required to manage and administer 
the proposed grazing programs, and (3) the BLM 
would receive funding to maintain existing improve- 
ments, maintain new improvements, and make revi- 
sions as a result of continuing studies and monitor- 
ing programs. 

Many of the technical terms used in this envi- 
ronmental statement are explained in the glossary; 
however, many have also been defined briefly in 
the text. 



SETTING 



The area encompassed by this impact analysis 
(Map 1-1) lies in the Missouri Plateau region of the 
Great Plains and is characterized by rolling plains 
dissected by the Missouri River and its tributaries. 
Occasional mountain ranges dot the area. The 
band of badland topography within roughly ten 
miles of the Missouri River is referred to locally as 
the "Missouri Breaks." Nearly 26 percent of the 
8,530,200 acres included in the environmental 
statement (ES) area are public lands. The Charles 
M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, administered 
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, straddles the 
Missouri River in roughly the eastern two-thirds of 
the ES area; however, grazing management within 
the Wildlife Refuge is not a part of this analysis. 
The Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River, adminis- 
tered by the BLM, is included in the western third of 
the ES area. The ES area is irregularly shaped 
measuring approximately 270 miles east-west and 
varying from 25 to 115 miles north-south. Lewis- 
town is the largest community in the ES area with a 



1-1 



TABLE 1-1 



Allocation of Annual Vegetation Production 
On Public Lands Within AMP Areas- 



Annual 
Vegetation 
Production 



Watershed, Wildlife 

And Other 

Consumptive and 

Non-consumptive 

Uses 



Livestock 
Forage 



100% 



60-70% 



30-40% 



1_/ Appendix 1 provides the analytical basis from which the allocation 
estimates were derived. 



TABLE 1-2 
Livestock Use (AUMs) on Public Lands Within AMP Areas 



Estimated— 
(1940-50s) 



MRB Rang. 
Survey 
(1960s) 



2/ 



Current 
Licensed 
Use 



Proposed 
Use 



Estimated 

With AMPs 

in 15 Years 



350,000 

+15% 



308,352 
-0- 



294,401 

-4% 



291,502 
-5% 



316,405 
+3% 



1_/ This general estimate is based on approximate grazing use levels 

within the Badlands Cooperative State Grazing District from 1954-1956. 
Adjudicative procedures in the late 1950s resulted in approximately a 
15 percent reduction in livestock use levels. Based on this sample 
(approximately 750,000 acres) and estimates made by individuals involved 
in the adjudicative process, it has been 'assumed that a similar reduc- 
tion took place throughout the ES area. An unknown amount of non- 
permitted livestock and horse use existed in addition to the 15 percent 
higher livestock use levels shown for the 1940-50s. 

2/ A detailed discussion of the Missouri River Basin survey methodology 
is provided in Appendix 1. 



1-2 



IN REPLY REFER TO: 
1792 (962) 




United States Department of the Interior 

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 
222 North 32nd Street 

P.O. Box 30157 
Billings, Montana 59107 



Dear Reader: 

Enclosed for your review and comment is the draft environmental statement on grazing 
management in the Missouri Breaks of Montana. 

The proposed action for the Bureau of Land Management is an improved grazing management 
program on nearly 2,200,000 acres of public land in the Lewistown and Miles City Districts. 
The proposal includes implementation of 266 new grazing plans or Allotment Management 
Plans, revision of 10 Allotment Management Plans, and continued operation of 42 Allotment 
Management Plans. These plans include provisions for construction of additional fences, 
livestock watering facilities, and vegetation treatments. 

Four alternatives to the proposed action were considered: (1) continuation of the present 
grazing management program (no action), (2) elimination of livestock on public lands, (3) 
reduced levels of livestock use, and (4) livestock forage maximization. 

Written comments from interested citizens and public agencies will be accepted until April 30, 
1979. Comments should be sent to the State Director, Bureau of Land Management, 222 
North 32nd Street, P. O. Box 30157, Billings, Montana 59107. 

Public meetings on the draft statement have been scheduled as follows: 

1. April 2, 1979 — 7:30 p.m., Math and Science Building Auditorium, Northern Montana 
College, Havre, Montana 

2. April 3, 1979 — 7:30 p.m., Basement Meeting Room, GN Motel, Malta, Montana 

3. April 4, 1979 — 7:30 p.m., BLM District Office, Airport Road, Lewistown, Montana 

4. April 5, 1979 - 7:30 p.m., V.F.W. Hall, Jordan, Montana 

5. April 6, 1979 — 7:30 p.m., City-County Library, Glasgow, Montana 

Testimony received through written comments or at the public meetings will be considered 
during preparation of the final environmental statement. No decisions on the proposed graz- 
ing management program will be made until the final environmental statement is completed. 



Sincerely yours, 

Edwin Zaidlicz '"" ""*" 
State Director 



jl&JO<c_- 



Enclosure 




MAP 1-1 
LOCATION MAP 



MISSOURI BREAKS 
ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT 



1-3 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



1970 population of approximately 6,500 persons. 
Public lands within the ES area are administered by 
the Lewistown and Miles City Districts of the 
Bureau of Land Management. 



MANAGEMENT GUIDANCE AND 
RESOURCE COORDINATION 



Development of the proposed grazing manage- 
ment program was guided by the Bureau's man- 
dates to manage the public lands for multiple use 
and sustained yield based on integration of physi- 
cal, biological, economic, and other applicable fac- 
tors. The primary Bureau multiple use mandate is 
the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976 (90 Stat. 2743). The principles of multiple use 
and sustained yield are applied to management of 
the public lands through a system of land use plan- 
ning. The planning process begins with the multi- 
disciplinary resource inventory contained in the unit 
resource analysis (URA), socio-economic data ana- 
lyzed in the planning area analysis (PAA), and man- 
agement decisions developed in the management 
framework plan (MFP). Figure 1-1 depicts the BLM 
land use planning system. 

The URA is a detailed compilation of inventory 
data for various resources including, but not limited 
to, minerals, range, timber, watershed, wildlife, rec- 
reation, and realty management. The URAs outline 
the resources present, the current status of each 
resource, and the capabilities and opportunities for 
management to beneficially affect those resources. 
A URA is prepared on an identified geographic area 
called a planning unit. The ES area encompasses 
11 planning units (Map 1-2) on which URAs have 
been completed: Willow Creek, UL Bend, Zortman, 
Little Rockies, South Bearpaw, Belt Mountains, 
Fergus, Petroleum, Musselshell, Haxby, and 
McCone. Updates (incorporation of newly acquired 
data) on these URAs were completed in 1977. 

The management framework plan (MFP) estab- 
lishes coordinated land use allocations for all re- 
sources and establishes objectives and constraints 
for each resource and support activity. Each re- 
source specialist identifies the full potential of the 
resources in his field. The overlaps and conflicts 
are reconciled through extensive study and discus- 
sion, including public input. The major decisions 
contained in the MFPs which affected development 
of the grazing program in the ES area are summa- 
rized in Table 1-3. Each of the ten MFPs in the ES 
area contains more site specific resource recom- 
mendations, decisions, and trade-offs based on 
particular resource conditions existing in the re- 



spective planning units. Table 1-3 indicates the 
multiple use parameters generally common 
throughout the ES area. Updates of the ten MFPs 
in the ES area were completed in 1977. Public 
input was sought on the updated MFPs through 
public meetings and open house sessions held in 
the ES area in late 1977 and early 1978. 



GRAZING MANAGEMENT 
PROGRAM 



The proposed grazing management program in- 
cludes intensive management on 318 AMP allot- 
ments, less intensive management on 729 non- 
AMP allotments or 251,000 acres of public land, 
and exclusion of grazing on 30,612 acres of unal- 
lotted public lands. In order to aggregate the large 
number of allotments into understandable and 
workable units, the ES area has been divided into 
four landform areas. Landforms are based upon 
similarities in soils and climate as developed in 
Climax Vegetation of Montana (Ross and Hunter 
1976). The landforms are: (1) rolling plains, (2) ri- 
verbreaks, (3) high plains, and (4) mountains (Map 
1-3 and Figures 1-2 to 1-5). 

NOTE: In the back of this document are two 
tissue map overlays. These overlays portray the 
landform areas and the existing, revised, and pro- 
posed allotment management plans which were 
used in this environmental impact analysis. The two 
overlays are provided as aids to the reader and 
allow more complete use and comparison of the 
resource data contained on maps throughout the 
report. 

The predominant vegetation in the rolling plains 
landform area is western, bluebunch, and thickspike 
wheatgrass, green needlegrass, and sagebrush. 
The riverbreaks landform area is characterized by 
rugged topography and wheatgrasses, Rocky 
Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, and some Doug- 
las fir. Fescues are the characteristic grasses in the 
high plains. Vegetation cover in the mountains is 
dominated by timber species such as Douglas fir, 
Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, subalpine 
fir, and limber pine. 



Livestock Forage Allocation 



Livestock forage has not been allocated based 
on a direct field inventory of total annual vegetation 
production. However, current livestock allocation 
levels were estimated to be approximately 30 per- 



1-4 



Figure 1-1 



BLM LAND USE PLANNING PROCESS 



National Policy and Guidance 




1-5 



Source: BLM, 1978 



LEWISTOWN DISTRICT 
HAVRE RESOURCE AREA 

Little Rockies - 



VALLEY RESOURCE AREA 



'South;; 

I Bearpaw 



PHILLIPS 
tESOURCE AREA 



riZortman' 



ffHaxbv ; ' 



siiiiiiimi^ iminiiiii '' 



MILESCITY DISTRICT 



Miles 



MAP 1-2 

BLM PLANNING SUBDIVISIONS 

LEGEND 



District Boundary 
Resource Area Boundary 
Planning Unit Boundary 



SOURCE: Bureau of Land Management, 1978. 



-N- 



1-6 



MFP STEP I RECOMMENDATIONS 
FOR RANGE/LIVESTOCK 

1. Improve or maintain existing range condition and available 
forage for livestock through intensive livestock management 
(allotment management plans). Allotment management plans 
should include establishment of rest rotation, deferred 
rotation, or seasonal grazing systems and specify seasons of 
use. numbers and kinds of animals, and any other terms and 
conditions deemed appropriate for management of the public 
lands. Continue to permit grazing in accordance with existing 
allotment management plans where the objectives of such 
plans are being met. Modify existing allotment management 
plans if resource objectives are not being met. On non-AMP 
areas provide grazing permits specifying the kinds and 
numbers of animals to be grazed, the seasons of use, and any 
other terms or conditions deemed appropriate for management 
of the public lands. 



OTHER RESOURCE RECOMMENDATIONS 

WHICH INTERACT WITH 
RANGE/LIVESTOCK RECOMMENDATIONS 

1.1 Wildlife - Maintain and improve the quantity and condition 
of wildlife food and cover plants through manipulation of use 
by foraging animals. 

1.2 Wildlife - Where wildlife habitat conditions are less than 



desirable, implement deferred rotation or rest rotation grazing 
systems to provide for optimum vegetation composition and 
quantity. Defer initiation of grazing until June 1. 

1.3 Wildlife • Improve the vigor in brush species especially in 
coulee bottoms by removal of livestock by October 15 on deer, 
antelope, and sage grouse winter ranges. 



Watershed - Reduce livestock grazing in areas having 



moderate and severe erosion activity, high percent bare 
ground, steep slopes, and slow infiltration rates. 



TABLE 1-3 
SUMMARY (1) MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK PLANS 



MULTIPLE USE CONSIDERATION 

1.1 Resource recommendations are complementary. 



1.2 Deferring livestock grazing in the spring benefits game and 
nongame wildlife species through increased forb production 
and perennial grass cover for nesting. Deferrment of spring 
grazing would reduce the forage available to livestock 
operators. 

1.3 Removal of livestock by October 15 would reduce the impact 
on browse plants used by wildlife for food and cover. Removal 
of livestock by October 15 would cause increased use of forage 
in winter pastures resulting in a potential shortage of forage 
over the winter months. 

1.4 Substantial livestock use in highly erosive areas may lead to 
excessive removal of plant cover and physical disturbance to 
the soil surface, thereby accelerating erosion and damaging 
watershed r 



MFP DECISION 

1.1 Maintain and improve the quantity and condition of wildlife 
food and cover plants through manipulation of use by foraging 
animals. 

1.2 Where wildlife habitat conditions are less than desirable, 
implement deferred rotation or rest rotation grazing systems 
to provide for optimum vegetation composition and quantity. 



1.3 Improve the vigor in brush species especially in coulee 
bottoms by removal of livestock as soon as possible in fall on 
deer, antelope, and sage grouse winter ranges. 



1.4 Livestock grazing will be carefully monitored and managed to 
discourage use on fragile watershed areas. 



RESOURCE TRADE-OFFS 

1.1 No trade-offs necessary. 



1.2 Optimum habitat conditions for wildlife in the spring will not 
be reached due to spring livestock grazing. 



1.3 Some browse species used by wildlife for winter cover and food 
may be adversely affected by livestock. 



1.4 Watershed conditions may deteriorate if livestock grazing i 
not carefully managed. 



Watershed - Manage livestock grazing to maintain or 



Initiate range improvement projects and practices to 
effectively implement grazing systems. Range improvements 
include fences, cattleguards, stock water reservoirs, wells, 
spring developments, water pipelines, stock water tanks, 
rainwater catchments, and vegetation manipulation 
practices such as contour furrowing, sagebrush spraying, 
and plowing and seeding. 



improve the present watershed condition. If watershed 
condition is not maintained or improved within five years (or 
one grazing cycle) consider land treatments or reductions in 
livestock use. If no positive results occur after 10 years, 
remove or reduce livestock. 

2.1 Wildlife - Fences on public lands should be located 
and designed to restrict movement of wildlife as little as 
possible unless that is the primary objective of the fence. 
Pasture sizes should be as large as possible to minimize the 
amount of fencing. Fences should be located so that crucial big 
game habitat or movement lanes are not hampered. 

2.2 Wildlife - Stock water should be developed to properly 
distribute livestock use and provide supplemental water for 
wildlife. A careful evaluation of the location for water 
developments should be made to determine their effect on 
wildlife habitat and to avoid over-concentration of livestock 
use in key wildlife areas. 

2.3 Wildlife - Eliminate artificial land treatment practices 
such as contour furrowing and plowing and seeding. 



1.5 Removal of plant cover and physical disturbance of the soil 
surface by livestock grazing can lead to long term watershed 
damage. Any reductions in livestock use will adversely affect 
livestock operators. 



2.1 Fences are required to separate grazing allotments and 
pastures, and for administration and management of 
livestock. Fences may restrict or modify wildlife habits and 
movement. 



Placement of water developments and the resulting livestock 
concentrations can be detrimental to wildlife populations 
through overuse of vegetation and displacement due to species 
intolerance. 



Artificial land treatments provide a radical change in 
habitat over a short period of time. Habitat and/or behavior 
adjustments by wildlife to change takes place over a long 
period of time; therefore, artificial land treatments can 
drastically affect wildlife resources. 



1) Each of the ten MFPs in the ES area contains more site-specific resource recommendations, decisions, and trade-offs based on particular resource conditions existing in the respective planning 
units. This summary indicates the multiple use parameters generally common throughout the ES area. The individual MFP documents are available for review at the Montana State Office or the 
affected District or Resource Area Offices of the Bureau of Land Management. 



1.5 Accept watershed recommendation as written. 



Accept wildlife recommendation as written. 



2.2 Accept wildlife recommendation as written. 



2.3 Limit artificial land treatment practices. Such treatments will 
be considered only after it has been determined that the 
desirable results cannot be attained through grazing 
management. Thoroughly evaluate the effects on wildlife 
before treatment is initiated. Revegetate with native plant 
species preferred by wildlife when possible. 



1.5 Livestock numbers may be reduced in the future if watershed 
conditions cannot be maintained or improved. 



2.1 The effect on wildlife of fence type, location, and pasture size 
must be considered in the development of grazing 
management systems. 



2.2 It may be necessary to place water developments at sites that 
are less than optimum for livestock due to the location of key 
wildlife areas. 



2.3 Wildlife habitat and/or behavior may be significantly changed 
or damaged where artificial land treatments are permitted. 



1-7 



MFP STEP 1 RECOMMENDATIONS 
FOR RANGE/LIVESTOCK 

Initiate range improvement projects and practices to 
effectively implement grazing systems. Range improvements 
include fences, cattleguards, stock water reservoirs, wells, 
spring developments, water pipelines, stock water tanks, 
rainwater catchments, and vegetation manipulation practices 
such as contour furrowing, sagebrush spraying, and plowing 
and seeding. 



3. After studies have indicated an increase in the available forage 
due to intensive grazing management, allocate such increases 
to livestock use. 



OTHER RESOURCE RECOMMENDATIONS 

WHICH INTERACT WITH 
RANGE/LIVESTOCK RECOMMENDATIONS 

2.4 Wildlife - Discontinue sagebrush spraying and plowing 
in areas with significant wildlife values. 



2.5 Watershed - Contour furrow, plow and seed, and control 
sagebrush to reduce overland flow problems, reduce soil loss, 
retain water on-site, and increase vegetation cover. 



2.6 Recreation - Inventory all roadless areas of 5,000 acres 

or more which exhibit wilderness characteristics for possible 
inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. 
Until the required inventory and subsequent studies are 
complete, such areas should continue to be managed so as not 
to impair their suitability for wilderness, subject to 
continuation of existing grazing and mining uses. 

2.7 Recreation - Design and locate landscape altering activities 
such as access roads, fences, stockwater reservoirs, pipelines, 
contour furrowing, etc., to blend as much as possible with the 
existing landscape character. 

2.8 Cultural Resources - Inventory all areas proposed for range 
improvements to insure that prehistoric or historic resources 
are not lost. Modify plans to avoid such resources or provide 
for mitigation appropriate to the significance of the site. 

3.1 Wildlife - Any forage increases resulting from intensive 

grazing management should be made available for wildlife to 
increase the actual wildlife carrying capacity towards the 
potential carrying capacity. 



3.2 Watershed • Allocate all increases in vegetation cover 

resulting from intensive grazing management to watershed 
protection or enhancement. 



TABLE 1-3 (Continued) 
SUMMARY (1) - MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK PLANS 



MULTIPLE USE CONSIDERATION 

2.4 Sage grouse depend totally on sage as a food and cover source. 
Antelope and deer depend on sage as a source of food during 
the winter. 



2.5 Headcutting, channel scouring, erosion from pan spots, 
excessive overland flow and evaporation are occurring in some 
areas. Artificial land treatments may be necessary to control 
such activity. 



2.6 Although this recommendation deals only with inventory, the 
results of such inventories could significantly affect 
implementation of AMPs with major range improvements. 



2.7 In order to meet visual resource management objectives, it 
will be necessary to carefully locate and design range 
improvements. Projects must be designed to blend with the 
surrounding terrain where possible. 

2.8 Ground disturbance during construction of range 
improvements can cause destruction of sites and loss of 
valuable information. Adequate inventory and planning prior 
to construction can mitigate such losses. 

3.1 Wildlife food and cover are provided by vegetation. Increased 
forage has the potential to provide additional residual cover 
and food for all wildlife species. Additional residual vegetation 
will increase the quantity of habitat for wildlife and at the 
same time increase the quality of existing habitat. 

3.2 By allocating increased ground cover and plant density to 
watershed protection and enhancement, the soil resource will 
be stabilized and erosion and sedimentation will decrease. 



1) Each of the ten MFPs in the ES area contains more site-specific resource recommendations, decisions, and trade-offs based on particular resource conditions existing in the respective planning 
units. This summary indicates the multiple use parameters generally common throughout the ES area. The individual MFP documents are available for review at the Montana State Office or the 
affected District or Resource Area Offices of the Bureau of Land Management. 



1-8 



MFP DECISION 



2.4 Allow for control of sagebrush only after 10 years of AMP 
implementation has failed to show an improvement in 
ecological range condition and then only after a loss of 
sagebrush has been shown not to be detrimental to existing 
wildlife populations. 

2.5 Initiate land treatment practices only where all resource 
values can be protected. Intense livestock management 
should be established prior to authorization of land 
treatments. Other restrictions include: no sagebrush control 
on crucial habitat or winter concentration areas for sage 
(Jrouse or antelope; no contour furrowing or sagebrush 
control within 100 feet of major drainages; and no 
destruction of silver sage and deciduous bottoms. 

2.6 Continue to permit livestock grazing in areas identified 
through the wilderness study areas inventory. Allow 
Construction of range improvements so long as the 
wilderness characteristics of the wilderness study area are 
not impaired. 



2.7 Accept the recreation recommendation as written. 



ccept cultural resources recommendation as written. 



After allotment management plan evaluations and 
terdisciplinary reviews indicate that increases in forage 
j roduction have occurred, allocate a proportion of the increase 
to wildlife habitat. 



Increases in vegetation will be allocated in the best interests of 
all resources. As a guide, all vegetation increases will be 
allocated to watershed until soils are stabilized to a 
satisfactory condition as determined by an interdisciplinary 
t;am review. Then, allocate no more than 50% of the total 
\egetation increases to livestock after the watershed has been 
stabilized to the greatest extent possible. 



RESOURCE TRADE-OFFS 

2.4 Any sagebrush spraying which is allowed will destroy sage 
grouse habitat and affect antelope and deer winter food 
supply. 



2,5 Same as 2.3 and 2.4 



2.6 If plans for range improvements are eliminated due to 
designation of wilderness study areas, it will be necessary to 
redesign grazing systems. Such redesigned systems may be 
less than optimum from a livestock perspective. 



2.7 Changes in the location and design of range improvements due 
to visual resource management may lessen the effectiveness of 
grazing management. 



2.8 It may prove necessary to change the location of proposed 
range improvements to avoid prehistoric or historic sites. 



3.1 Portions of any forage increases will be allocated to wildlife 
rather than livestock. 



3.2 Increases in vegetation will not be allocated to livestock or 
wildlife unless watershed values have been adequately 
protected. 




LEGEND 

LANDFORMS 

| I Mountains 

I High Plains 
Rolling Plains 

I Riverbreaks 



UNITED STATES DEPAETMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STAT EM E N T 



LANDFORM AREAS 



MAP 1-3 



■ 




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*^^p ; * 



■wQSSl 



»^'a 



iwiw 



Figure 1-2 Rolling plains landform 






i M 






* ,*m 






Figure 1-3 Riverbreaks landform 



1-9 



Wmmze 










i'*"**^** y . ~**0 



Figure 1-4 High plains landform 




r j* 



Figure 1-5 Mountains landform 



1-10 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



cent of the annual vegetation production or growth 
in the rough terrain (the mountains and riverbreaks 
landform areas) and 40 percent on the more gently 
rolling rangelands (the high plains and rolling plains 
landform areas). This level of allocation will contin- 
ue for future forage increases except in sensitive 
areas as identified in individual management frame- 
work plans. The primary soil/vegetation inventory 
was completed through the Missouri River Basin 
Studies. The major result from these surveys was 
livestock stocking rates. Current annual vegetation 
production was not directly measured. Appendix 1 
gives a detailed explanation of the process used to 
estimate the allocation of annual vegetation pro- 
duction. Appendix 1 also describes the survey 
methodology used during the rangeland inventories 
for the Missouri River Basin Studies. On an allot- 
ment basis, approximately 50 percent of the key 
forage species would be used by livestock. Appen- 
dix 4 provides specific allocations for AMP allot- 
ments. 



Allotment Management Plans 



An allotment management plan (AMP) is a doc- 
ument prepared in consultation with the lessees or 
permittees involved, which applies to livestock op- 
erations on the public lands which: 

(1) prescribes the manner in, and extent to, 
which livestock operations will be conducted 
in order to meet the multiple-use, sustained- 
yield, economic, and other needs and objec- 
tives as determined for the lands by the Sec- 
retary of the Interior; and 

(2) describes the type, location, ownership, 
and general specifications for the range im- 
provements to be installed and maintained 
on the lands to meet the livestock grazing 
and other objectives of land management; 
and 

(3) contains such other provisions relating to 
livestock grazing and other objectives found 
by the Secretary of the Interior to be consist- 
ent with the provisions of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act of 1976 and 
other applicable law. 

A summary of AMP data for each landform area 
is provided in Table 1-4. Appendix 4 provides data 
for individual AMPs by landform area in terms of 
allotment name; identification number; type of ob- 
jectives; acres; grazing system; number of pastures; 
class of livestock; season of use; and the number 
of AUMs of livestock forage specified in the range 
survey; current licenses; existing, revised, or pro- 
posed AMPs; and 15-year AMP objectives. No 



AMPs are proposed for the high plains landform 
area. Map 1-4 shows existing, revised, and pro- 
posed AMPs using the identification number includ- 
ed in Appendix 4. 



Objectives 

All allotment management plans have both gen- 
eral and specific objectives. General objectives are 
broad in scope and originate from decisions of the 
Management Framework Plan (MFP). General ob- 
jectives usually apply to more than one allotment. 
Specific objectives quantify desired changes in 
vegetation composition, soil surface factor, or the 
amount of litter within each allotment which will 
partially fulfill a general objective. The following ex- 
amples illustrate the relationship between general 
and specific objectives: 

1. General Objective - Minimize soil erosion, 
by increasing vegetation cover. 

Specific Objective - Increase the total 
vegetation ground cover on identified key 
areas from 50 percent to 75 percent. 

2. General Objective - Improve range condi- 
tions from fair to good. 

Specific Objective - Increase the amount 
of western wheatgrass on identified key 
areas from 2 percent to 15 percent, and de- 
crease the amount of plains prickly pear 
cactus from 20 percent to 1 percent. 

3. General Objective - Maintain wildlife food 
and cover plant species. 

Specific Objective - Maintain big sage- 
brush (5 to 10 percent) and silver sagebrush 
(13 percent) at their present composition to 
provide food and cover for major wildlife 
species. 

There can be a considerable variance among 
the general and specific objectives of AMPs. This 
variance is due to the relationship of a particular 
grazing allotment to a specific multiple use prob- 
lem, and the allotment's resource potential to re- 
solve this problem. AMPs can generally be divided 
into two categories according to the type of objec- 
tives established; maintenance or minor improve- 
ment (104 AMPs) and substantial improvement 
(214 AMPs). The objectives of maintenance or 
minor improvement AMPs (approximately 810,000 
acres) include relatively minor changes in vegeta- 
tion composition, vegetation cover, amount of litter, 
and erosion condition class (expression of existing 
erosion activity). Objectives for substantial improve- 
ment AMPs (approximately 2,200,000 acres) seek 
significant increases in desired vegetation, in- 
creases in litter and vegetation cover, decreases in 



1-11 



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1-12 




LEGEND 

ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS 

Proposed Allotment Management Plan 
I Revised Allotment Management Plan 
I Existing Allotment Management Plan 
4841- Allotment Management Plan Identification Number. 
See Appendix 4 tor details on individual AMPs. 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEM ENT 

ALLOTMENT 
MANAGEMENT PLANS 



SOURCE: Individual AMPfiles. B.L N 



MAP 1-4 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



less desirable plant species, and improvement in 
the erosion condition class. For example, increases 
in the percent of western wheatgrass, green need- 
legrass, needleandthread, bluebunch wheatgrass, 
and similar desirable plant species are frequent ob- 
jectives. Species frequently mentioned in substan- 
tial improvement AMP objectives for decreases in- 
clude blue grama, little clubmoss, plains prickly 
pear cactus, and, in some places, various species 
of sagebrush. The specific objectives are included 
in each AMP file and are available for review in the 
respective BLM Resource Area Offices. 



Grazing Systems 

Grazing livestock on rangelands are selective 
relating to plant species and areas. The most palat- 
able plants and the most accessible areas are 
grazed first and heaviest. Plants grazed heavily one 
year are usually heavily grazed the following year, 
which leads to their gradual loss. This is also the 
trend for the preferred areas. When forage produc- 
tion of the most desirable plants falls below the 
needs of the animal, they will start grazing the less 
desirable species and/or areas, which leads to an 
ever enlarging area of range deterioration (Stoddart 
and Smith 1955; Hormay 1970). Grazing systems 
are prescribed in AMPs to regulate livestock graz- 
ing, to alleviate a particular problem, and/or give a 
desired result. The AMPs for the ES area involve 
three primary grazing systems: rest rotation, de- 
ferred rotation, and seasonal, or a combination of 
these systems. 

The harmful effects of selective grazing of pre- 
ferred plants can be reduced by resting the range 
at appropriate intervals. An allotment is usually 
fenced into pastures to facilitate controlled pasture 
grazing and pasture resting. A grazing formula is 
tailored for each allotment; the number of pastures 
and amount and timing of pasture grazing and rest- 
ing are based on key forage plant physiological 
needs, existing range conditions, and potential for 
improvement. 

Rest Rotation Grazing 

Under a rest rotation grazing system, grazing is 
deferred on various parts of an allotment during 
succeeding years, and the deferred parts are al- 
lowed complete rest for one or more years (Society 
for Range Management 1974). The allotment is di- 
vided into two or more pastures, usually with com- 
parable grazing capacities. Each pasture is system- 
atically grazed and rested, providing for livestock 
production and other resource values, while simul- 
taneously maintaining or improving the vegetation 
cover, hence providing greater protection of the soil 
resource against wind and water erosion (Johnson 



1965; Hormay 1970; Ratliff et al. 1972; Ratliff and 
Reppert 1974). 

Rest rotation grazing systems may include sev- 
eral treatments depending upon the objectives for 
the allotment and the number of pastures. Figure 1- 
6 gives a typical example of a four pasture rest 
rotation system. Rest rotation grazing systems are 
included in 81 AMPs encompassing 1,160,166 
acres. 

Rest rotation grazing systems were recommend- 
ed on allotments which exhibit some or all of the 
following characteristics: 

1. Substantial improvement in range condi- 
tion is desired and attainable through grazing 
management. 

2. At least one full year of rest is needed for 
seedling establishment. 

3. Allotment is large enough to justify project 
expenditures. 

4. Topography is not a limiting factor in con- 
structing needed projects. 

5. Desired results have occurred in nearby 
operational AMPs. 

6. The operator has a preference in tailoring 
grazing use of the allotment into his overall 
ranch operation. 

Deferred Rotation Grazing 

Deferred rotation is the discontinuance of graz- 
ing on various parts of an allotment in succeeding 
years. This allows each part or pasture to rest suc- 
cessively during the growing season to permit seed 
production, establishment of seedlings, and restora- 
tion of plant vigor (Society for Range Management 
1974). One or more pastures are grazed during the 
spring, while the remaining one or more pastures 
are rested until after seed ripening of key species 
and then grazed. Deferred rotation grazing differs 
from rest rotation grazing in that there is no year- 
long rest provided for any part of the allotment. 
Figure 1-7 illustrates a typical example of deferred 
rotation grazing. Deferred rotation grazing systems 
are included in 142 AMPs encompassing 1,133,898 
acres. 

Deferred rotation grazing systems were recom- 
mended on the basis of some or all of the following 
criteria: 

1. Minor improvement in range condition is 
desired. 

2. Size and shape of an allotment and to- 
pography often may be limiting factors in 
project feasibility. 



1-13 



Figure 1-6 



FOUR PASTURE REST ROTATION 
GRAZING SYSTEM 



May1 «*■ 



■+ October 31 





B 




C 




D 


Treatment 


A 


Treatment 


B 


Treatment 


C 


Treatment 


D 



Graze Ny 


Rest 


Rest 


Nv Graze after seed ripe 


Complete Rest 


Rest \. 


Graze after flowering 



Graze for livestock production 

Rest for plant vigor until seed has ripened, then graze (approximately July 15) 

Complete rest for new seedling establishment and litter accumulation 

Rest for continued seedling establishment (flowering time), then graze 
(approximately June 15) 



/ Pasture 1 
/ A 


Pasture 2 \ 
D } 


\ Pasture 4 
\ B 


Pasture 3 / 
C / 



/ Pasture 1 
/ B 


Pasture 2\ 
A \ 


\ Pasture 4 
\ C 


Pasture 3 / 

D / 



Year 1 



Year 2 




/ Pasture 1 
/ D 


Pasture 2 \ 
C \ 


\ Pasture 4 
\ A 


Pasture 3 / 
B / 



Year 3 



Year 4 
1-14 Source: BLM, 1978 



Figure 1-7 

THREE PASTURE DEFERRED ROTATION 

GRAZING SYSTEM 



May1 -«- 



-*• October 31 



A 


Graze 


\ 


Rest 


B 




Rest 


\^ Graze after seed ripe 


C 


Rest 


\ 


Graze after flowering 



Treatment A 
Treatment B 
Treatment C 



Graze for livestock production 

Rest for plant vigor until seed has ripened, then graze 

Rest for seedling establishment and continued plant vigor (flowering time), 
then graze 




Year 1 





Year 2 



Source: BLM, 1978 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



3. The existence of unfenced agricultural 
cropland intermingled with public land, con- 
straining the period of use by livestock. 

Seasonal Grazing 

Seasonal grazing is restricted to a specific 
season (Society for Range Management 1974). Al- 
lotments are not necessarily divided into pastures, 
but are grazed at a moderate rate during the same 
period of time each year. An example may be 7/1 
to 9/15 annually. Seasonal grazing would be pro- 
posed on allotments or pastures in excellent to 
good condition, with a moderate stocking rate and 
usually for short periods (2 to 3 weeks) during 
spring, and longer periods for late summer and fall. 
Seasonal grazing is the primary system in 95 AMPs 
encompassing 720,328 acres. 

Seasonal grazing was recommended for those 
allotments based on some or all of the following 
criteria: 

1. Maintenance of range conditions is de- 
sired. 

2. Past and current livestock use has been 
on a seasonal basis and range is producing 
at a satisfactory level. 

3. Topographic limitations constrain season 
of use. 

4. Recognition of the overall needs of ranch 
operation. 

Twenty-two AMPs use a combination of two 
grazing systems. When seasonal grazing is com- 
bined with a rest or deferred rotation grazing 
system, generally only one pasture is grazed on a 
seasonal basis with the remainder of the allotment 
being placed under some form of rotational system. 
In several instances deferred and rest rotation sys- 
tems are used on a single allotment. Such combi- 
nations are suggested when a single system type 
will not fully meet allotment resource objectives. 



Range Improvements 

Range improvements are often necessary in 
order to implement a grazing system. Construction 
of stock water reservoirs, wells, spring develop- 
ments, water pipelines, stock water tanks, rainwater 
catchments, fencing, cattleguards, and vegetation 
manipulation would be required for implementing 
the grazing systems of the proposed AMPs (see 
Figures 1-8 to 1-12). Only those developments con- 
sidered absolutely necessary are proposed for the 
initial implementation of the proposed AMPs. Devel- 
opments are designed to provide water for live- 
stock and wildlife, control movement of livestock, 
provide additional forage where needed, encourage 



distribution of livestock and possibly wildlife, and 
enhance proper utilization of available forage. 
Range improvements for the proposed and revised 
AMPs are summarized in Table 1-5 and shown for 
each AMP in Appendix 2. A detailed discussion of 
the construction, operation, and maintenance of the 
various types of range improvements is included in 
Appendix 3. Table 1-5 also provides a summary of 
the acreage disturbed for the proposed range im- 
provements. Table 1-6 provides a summary of the 
costs for the proposed range improvements. 

Reservoirs, springs, pipelines, wells, and rain- 
water catchments are proposed to provide a source 
of water to improve distribution of livestock on 
areas where water is presently limited. Fences and 
cattleguards are proposed to control movement of 
livestock. Vegetation manipulation practices are 
proposed to improve the productivity of individual 
pastures. Pastures in less than satisfactory condi- 
tion that are not expected to improve in a reason- 
able amount of time have been scheduled for treat- 
ment. In addition, vegetation manipulation would 
allow pastures that are low in forage to be bal- 
anced with those having adequate supply and, in 
some areas, to meet watershed objectives. 



Monitoring and Evaluation 

BLM procedures would be followed to conduct 
forage, watershed, and wildlife habitat studies to 
evaluate and make any necessary adjustments in 
the allotment management plans. These studies in- 
clude actual use, utilization, climate analyses, and 
range trend. Study locations are identified on a 
base map overlay in each specific allotment man- 
agement plan (AMP). Modifications would be made 
as indicated by interdisciplinary evaluations of the 
AMP monitoring systems. For example, monitoring 
may indicate that important wildlife areas need 
more rest than provided for by the grazing system; 
thereby indicating possible grazing formula adjust- 
ment or selective fencing of some areas. As an- 
other example, grazing management alone may 
prove to be relatively ineffective in improving vege- 
tation production on some sodbound sites. In this 
situation, mechanical treatment might then be iden- 
tified to accomplish the vegetation production ob- 
jective stated in the AMP. 

Permanent range trend plots would be estab- 
lished in key areas, utilizing standard procedures. 
General, overhead and aerial photos would be used 
to document changes in ground cover, plant vigor, 
and species composition. Using an adaptation of 
the techniques of Meyer (1976) and Taylor (1977), 
low level aerial photography at 1:3,000 negative 
scale has been obtained on nearly all key study 
sites to complement ground information. In addition 



1-16 











a* 



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Figure 1-8 Five hundred and fifty-one stockwater reservoirs are proposed in the ES area. 




Figure 1-9 Typical stockwater reservoir with earth fill 



1-17 




Figure 1-10 Typical rainwater catchment 



1-18 




(a) contour furrower 




(b) resulting landscape 

Figure 1-11 Contour furrowing is proposed for 2,253 acres in the ES area. 



1-19 







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Figure 1-12 Sagebrush spraying has been proposed on 2,236 acres. 



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1-22 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



numerous photo stations have been established 
throughout each allotment to monitor vegetation 
changes. 

The trend in range condition would be consid- 
ered along with stocking rates in relation to the 
estimated carrying capacity, climatic conditions and 
results of utilization studies, when making decisions 
affecting future stocking levels. 

Benefit/Cost Analysis 

An analysis of benefits versus costs (B/C ratio) 
in dollars has been completed for all proposed al- 
lotment management plans. This analysis indicates 
that 48 AMPs had B/C ratios of less than 1:1 
(costs in excess of benefits), 55 AMPs had B/C 
ratios of from 1:1 to 2:1, and 163 AMPs had B/C 
ratios greater than 2:1. The benefit versus cost 
analysis for each AMP is available for review at the 
Montana State Office of the BLM. The highest B/C 
ratios were generally obtained on those proposed 
AMPs where minimal range improvements were 
identified. Nearly one-third of the proposed AMPs 
fall into this category, because present range condi- 
tions are generally satisfactory and vegetation ob- 
jectives seek maintenance or minor improvement. 

The lowest B/C ratios were attained on those 
proposed AMPs requiring substantial range im- 
provements. Important resource problems, not all of 
which were accounted for in the B/C calculation, 
were identified for correction in these allotments. 
Watershed problems, for example, were identified 
and recommendations made for grazing but not 
quantified in dollars in AMP B/C ratios. Neverthe- 
less, an urgent need exists to correct important 
watershed problems related to livestock grazing. 



Non-AMP Allotments 



Less intensive grazing management is proposed 
on approximately 251,000 acres (729 allotments) of 
public lands not encompassed in allotment man- 
agement plans. Non-AMP areas proposed for less 
intensive grazing management generally are small 
scattered tracts of public land interspersed with 
large privately-owned land areas. Most non-AMP 
areas include a small number of AUMs in relation- 
ship to AUMs on surrounding private land and lack 
high value for resource uses other than grazing. 
Management on non-AMP areas would require 
minimal supervision by BLM, primarily to insure 
compliance and evaluate resource conditions. A 
grazing permit would be issued specifying the 
season of use, numbers of livestock, and any other 
stipulations deemed necessary by the Secretary of 



the Interior for management of the public lands. No 
range improvements currently are proposed for 
non-AMP areas. No specific management objec- 
tives have been established other than the im- 
provement and maintenance of desirable resource 
conditions. 



Unallotted Public Lands 



Approximately 30,612 acres of public land within 
the ES area would continue in an unallotted status. 
These lands are not allocated to livestock grazing. 
However, 3,547 acres (12 percent) in the Little 
Rockies are grazed periodically on a temporary, 
non-renewable basis when forage condition is fa- 
vorable. Most unallotted lands are unsuitable or 
inaccessible for livestock use. Supervision of unal- 
lotted lands is primarily limited to trespass control. 



IMPLEMENTATION 



Implementation of the revised and proposed 
AMPs would take place over a four year period 
following completion of the ES. Continuation of 
operational AMPs, grazing management on non- 
AMP areas, and unallotted status designations 
would also be fully implemented following comple- 
tion of the ES. All necessary livestock use adjust- 
ments would be made over a period of one to three 
years from the issuance of a decision to the affect- 
ed operator in accordance with BLM grazing regula- 
tions. After a grazing system is established, ap- 
proximately 15 years would be needed to meet the 
resource objectives contained in each AMP. The 
implementation program outlined in Table 1-7 as- 
sumes that adequate funds and manpower would 
be made available in the specified time period. 
Some of the new positions must be allocated in 
fiscal year 1979 as shown (ten range technicians 
and five operations technicians). On-the-job training 
for these new employees and general employee 
orientation is necessary before a major commit- 
ment is made in fiscal year 1980 to new AMP 
supervision, range studies, project layout and 
design, and contract preparation and contract su- 
pervision. Operations technicians are needed for 
project layout and design and contract develop- 
ment prior to the expenditure of range improvement 
funds. Range technicians are necessary in advance 
of project layout to reevaluate the proposed AMPs 
in light of this environmental analysis and to com- 
plete any supplemental environmental analysis 
which may be required. 



1-23 



TABLE 1-7 
Implementation Schedule 





AMPs (No.) 


Additional 
Positions 


Approximate Costs 


Fiscal 
Year 


Exist- 
ing 


Revi- 
sion 


Pro- 
posed 


Range 
Tech. 


Opera- 
tions 


Range Im- , 
provements— 


Govt . Sal- 
ary Costs 


Total 


FY79 
FY80 
FY81 
FY82 
FY83 


42 


10 


10 

50 

75 

131 


10 

10 








5 
5 





$ 

154,642 

517,050 

775,575 

1,354,619 


? 178,500 
357,000 
357,000 
357,000 
357,000 


$ 178,500 

511,642 

874,050 

1,132,575 

1,711,619 


TOTALS 


42 


10 


266 


20 


10 


$2,801,886 


$1,606,500 


$4,408,386 



1/ Includes BLM and operator costs. 



1-24 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



The AMP implementation schedule would be 
based on the following factors: (1) existing AMPs 
scheduled for revision due to recommendations 
from ongoing study and monitoring programs, (2) 
AMPs which can be implemented with minimal 
costs (generally proposed AMPs with maintenance 
or minor improvement objectives), (3) benefit/cost 
analyses, (4) AMPs with specific resource problems 
which can be remedied with grazing systems, and 
(5) AMPs affected by their relationship to the 
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, and 
the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River. 



INTERRELATIONSHIPS 



The administration of public lands involves the 
complex interdependence between lands of differ- 
ent ownership, uses, capabilities, and needs. The 
ES area involves lands that are managed by the 
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Man- 
agement, US Forest Service, State of Montana, and 
private parties. The use patterns of these lands 
have evolved over a long period of time and a 
strong interdependence has developed in their 
management. 

Private lands along the drainage bottoms have 
been used primarily for the production of forage 
crops to sustain livestock operations through winter 
months. These properties are also the lands to 
which federal grazing privileges are attached. Most 
of the private lands are dependent upon additional 
federal or state lands to sustain a year long cattle 
operation. 

Public lands are used primarily for livestock 
grazing, wildlife habitat, recreation, and other re- 
source uses compatible with multiple resource 
management. 

Grazing use of public lands is dependent upon 
the capability of private lands to sustain livestock 
during early spring until the forage on public lands 
is ready for grazing. 



Bureau of Land Management - The 
Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic 
River 



The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (as 
amended by Public Law 94-486) incorporated the 
149 mile segment of the Missouri River from Fort 
Benton downstream to Fred Robinson Bridge within 
the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (Map 
1-5). This segment of the Missouri is to be adminis- 



tered by the BLM, pursuant to the provisions of the 
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Taylor Grazing Act 
(48 Stat. 1269 as amended), and other authorities 
under principles of multiple use and sustained yield. 
Livestock grazing and other uses are allowed, but 
such management must be consistent with Wild 
and Scenic Rivers values. 

Three potential classifications are cited in Sec- 
tion 2.(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act: 

"(1) Wild river areas - those rivers or sec- 
tions of rivers that are free of impoundments 
and generally inaccessible except by trail; 
with watersheds or shorelines essentially 
primitive and waters unpolluted. These repre- 
sent vestiges of primitive America. 

(2) Scenic river areas - those rivers or sec- 
tions of rivers that are free of impoundments, 
with shorelines or watersheds still largely 
primitive and shorelines largely undeveloped, 
but accessible in places by roads. 

(3) Recreational river areas - those rivers or 
sections of rivers that are readily accessible 
by road or railroad, that may have some de- 
velopment along their shorelines, and that 
may have undergone some impoundment or 
diversion in the past." 

The river contains all three of the classifications 
listed: 

Segment Length Classification 

Fort Benton to Ebersole Bottom 52 miles... Recreational 

Ebersole Bottom to Deadman Rapids 33 miles... Wild 
Deadman Rapids to Holmes Rapids.... 7 miles ... Recreational 

Holmes Rapids to Leslie Point 7 miles ... Wild 

Leslie Point to Magdall Homestead 5 miles ... Scenic 

Magdall Homestead to Cow Island 24 miles... Wild 

Cow Island to Fred Robinson Bridge .. 21 miles... Scenic 

A conceptual plan for river management was 
completed by BLM in 1977, and a detailed manage- 
ment plan was completed in 1978. The conceptual 
river management plan included general manage- 
ment objectives which have been refined in the 
detailed management plan. General management 
objectives for livestock grazing on public lands, and 
other lands in which the federal government ac- 
quires an interest, for the designated segment of 
the Missouri River are as follows: 

Manage grazing of public lands in a manner 
which maintains and improves forage pro- 
duction, maintains or enhances riparian 
vegetation, wildlife habitat, watershed and 
scenic values; and minimizes conflict be- 
tween livestock and recreationists. 

Construct livestock management facilities 
such as fences and water sources to comply 
with scenic restrictions appropriate to the 
classification of the Missouri River segment. 

1-25 



MAP 1-5 

UPPER MISSOURI WILD AND SCENIC RIVER 




CHARLES M. RUSSELL 
NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 



Recreational Segment 

Fori Benton - Ebersole Bottoms 
Deadman Rapids-Holmes Rapids 

Wild Segment 

Ebersole Bottoms -Deadman Rapids 

Holmes Rapids-Leslie Point 

Magdall Homestead-Cow Island Landing 

Scenic Segment 

Leslie Point -Magdall Homestead 

Cow Island Landing-Fred Robinson Bridge 

Highway— 2 Lanes Paved 
Unsurfaced Road 



1-26 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Livestock may be excluded from high visitor 
use areas, such as camping sites, through 
fencing or changes in use seasons. 

Specific management objectives for livestock 
grazing on BLM administered lands within the 
"wild" segments of the river include: 

A minimum of livestock grazing facilities will 
be permitted. Subject to valid existing rights, 
all existing fences, water sources, and cor- 
rals will be evaluated for need and eliminat- 
ed where found to seriously detract from 
scenic and wild values. New facilities will be 
unobtrusive from the Missouri River. Live- 
stock on public lands will be managed to 
enhance wild and scenic river values. Graz- 
ing management plans will be prepared for 
all allotments. Objectives will include mini- 
mum development and avoidance of live- 
stock and recreational conflicts. Present 
uses are generally found compatible with 
scenic and recreational uses; however, rec- 
reational and scenic values may take priority. 



Bureau of Indian Affairs 



The Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for 
the administration of Indian lands and water. In 
proximity or adjacent to the Missouri Breaks ES 
area are three reservations: the Fort Peck, Fort 
Belknap, and Rocky Boy. The Indians on each of 
these reservations have some claim to the use of 
the waters which are located on or which flow 
through or along the boundaries of the Indian reser- 
vation thus affecting operators and water develop- 
ments on allotments within affected watersheds. 

Within the South Bearpaw Planning Unit, 3,464 
acres are in Indian ownership. These are tribal- 
administered lands without reservation status. Indi- 
ans have preference in obtaining grazing rights on 
these scattered tracts; however, leases are fre- 
quently granted to surrounding non-Indian landown- 
ers. Because of the mixture of unfenced public, 
private, and Indian lands, the administration of 
AMPs and trespass violations is often difficult. 



with additional natural forage being allocated to 
sustaining a balanced wildlife population. Beyond 
this base, forage resources could be made availa- 
ble for domestic livestock use. The Range was 
redesignated the Charles M. Russell National Wild- 
life Range (now Refuge) in 1963, with primary re- 
sponsibility for policy and programs vested in the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Allotments that 
adjoin the wildlife refuge are licensed by BLM only 
for that area lying outside the wildlife refuge bound- 
ary, even though pastures may extend into the wild- 
life refuge. All existing allotment management plans 
bordering the wildlife refuge have involved coopera- 
tion with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Where con- 
trol of livestock numbers from adjacent areas is 
desired, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed 
fencing segments of the wildlife refuge boundary. 
An environmental impact assessment has been 
completed by the Fish and Wildlife Service for fenc- 
ing of the entire wildlife refuge boundary. Long 
range planning, including meetings with individual 
operators and the interested public, is ongoing. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service also administers 
about 7,900 acres adjacent to Wild Horse and War 
Horse Lakes and Yellow Water Reservoir in Petro- 
leum County. In recent years, these properties have 
been grazed as part of allotments administered by 
BLM under a cooperative agreement with the Fish 
and Wildlife Service; however, this cooperative 
agreement expired in January 1978, and at the end 
of the 1 978 grazing season, management will revert 
to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunting is allowed 
on these properties but except for the grazing pro- 
gram, they have not been actively managed. Be- 
cause fences do not separate wildlife refuge lands 
from adjacent public and private lands, the Fish 
and Wildlife Service will likely continue to license 
grazing at the same levels of use and during the 
same time periods as in previous years. Depending 
on the future management of refuge lands, as 
many as four AMPs may need revision (South War 
Horse 5048, War Horse 4875, Yellow Water 5040, 
and King 5055). 



Environmental Protection Agency 



Fish and Wildlife Service 

In 1936 the 1,100,000 acre Fort Peck Game 
Range was withdrawn to conserve and develop 
natural wildlife resources and to protect and im- 
prove public grazing lands and natural forage re- 
sources. Maintenance of populations of antelope 
and sharp-tailed grouse was of primary concern, 



Section 208 of the Federal Water Pollution Con- 
trol Act (FWPCA) provided local governments with 
the necessary authority for the control of point and 
nonpoint sources of water pollution. The Montana 
Department of Health and Environmental Sciences 
has been designated by the Environmental Protec- 
tion Agency as the state agency responsible for 
208 planning. A cooperative agreement between 
the Montana State Office of BLM and the State of 
Montana was signed in mid-1977. This agreement 



1-27 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



stipulates that the BLM will coordinate closely with 
the state during the land use planning process to 
insure that the water quality objectives of the 
FWPCA are met where public lands are involved. In 
addition, the BLM will make resource information 
and expertise available to determine the effects of 
grazing systems on water quality. Thus, implemen- 
tation of the proposed AMPs must be done in com- 
pliance with the guidelines established by the 208 
planning process. 



velopments, erosion control, and practices to 
remove woody plant species; the SCS provides 
technical support in planning, surveying, designing, 
and laying out the project. These activities and pro- 
grams are confined to nonfederal lands and do not 
conflict with the proposed action. 



Montana Department of Fish and 
Game 



Forest Service 



The Nebel Coulee AMP (9665) lies adjacent to 
US Forest Service managed lands of the Lewis and 
Clark National Forest. The boundary between Na- 
tional Forest lands and the allotment is not fenced. 
The allotment management plan has involved co- 
operation with the Forest Service; however a joint 
grazing system has not been established. The AMP 
proposes seasonal use from July 1 to September 
15. Use of National Forest lands currently is author- 
ized from June 21 to October 15. A cooperative 
grazing plan with the Forest Service may be devel- 
oped in the future. The Bald Butte AMP (2806) also 
borders the Lewis and Clark National Forest in the 
Little Snowy Mountains; however, the allotment is 
fenced from National Forest lands. 



Soil Conservation Service 



The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) efforts are 
primarily directed towards stabilization of the soil 
and watershed resources and increasing the pro- 
ductive capability of private land. In an effort to 
improve production capabilities on private land, 
SCS has developed farm and ranch plan programs 
which include such soil conservation projects as 
detention reservoirs and seedings. In ranch plan 
development, grazing systems are designed to use 
the private range effectively. In an integrated pro- 
gram, other range lands such as public land must 
be considered. If the private ranch plan develop- 
ment incorporates other use on public land, con- 
flicts could arise, particularly if use on public land is 
adjusted. Soil Conservation Service assistance on 
private lands is accomplished primarily through 
eight soil and water conservation districts in or ad- 
jacent to the ES area. 

Through the Agricultural Stabilization and Con- 
servation Service (ASCS), the Soil Conservation 
Service provides assistance to landowners who 
want to improve their private range lands. The 
ASCS provides cost sharing on fences, water de- 



The Montana Department of Fish and Game is 
responsible for a wide variety of fish, wildlife, and 
recreation-related programs which directly affect 
the management of public lands. These programs 
include, in part, the protection and propagation of 
both game and non-game fish and wildlife and the 
setting of seasons and limits for utilizing such spe- 
cies. In addition, the Department is the state 
agency in charge of outdoor recreation. 

Through a master memorandum of understand- 
ing dated November 1, 1977, the BLM and the 
Department have agreed to work for the common 
purpose of maintenance, improvement, and man- 
agement of the wildlife resources found in the State 
of Montana and the habitat necessary to the propa- 
gation, protection, and survival of those resources. 
Further, the two agencies have agreed to cooper- 
ate in the inventory, research, and management of 
wildlife and wildlife habitat relationships on or adja- 
cent to the public lands, as necessary to insure the 
welfare and proper management of the species and 
its habitat. The two agencies have agreed to co- 
ordinate and exchange information on such items 
as reservation of forage for big game animals, live- 
stock control fences, alteration of vegetation by 
chemical or mechanical means, water develop- 
ments, and the joint development of habitat man- 
agement plans. Therefore, many of the items in- 
cluded in the proposed action (development of 
range improvements, vegetation manipulation, etc.) 
must be closely coordinated with the Montana De- 
partment of Fish and Game. 



Montana Department of State Lands 



The largest state land manager, the Department 
of State Lands, is responsible for the School Trust 
Lands (usually sections 16 and 36) and other small- 
er areas. These lands generally are leased to indi- 
vidual livestock operators or Cooperative State 
Grazing Districts on a long-term basis and are often 
intermingled with public lands. Nearly 7 percent of 
the total ES area is composed of state lands. The 
AMPs included in the proposed action contain vary- 



1-28 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



ing amounts of state land. The Department of State 
Lands is becoming increasingly involved in man- 
agement planning and development of range im- 
provements. Coordination with the Montana Depart- 
ment of State Lands within allotments involving 
state lands is ongoing. 



Thus, cooperative state grazing districts are directly 
involved in the development and implementation of 
the Bureau's AMP program. 



Old West Regional Commission 



Montana Cooperative State Grazing 
Districts 



Cooperative state grazing districts are non-profit 
cooperative associations of livestock operators or- 
ganized under the 1934 Montana Grass Conserva- 
tion Act. They are specifically empowered to lease 
or purchase grazing lands, to develop and manage 
district controlled lands, and to allocate grazing 
preferences among members and non-members. 
The Montana Department of Natural Resources 
and Conservation is the state agency responsible 
for administration of cooperative state grazing dis- 
trict activities. 

Districts are organized to provide for the conser- 
vation, protection, restoration, and proper utilization 
of the state's forage resource, to provide a means 
for government agency cooperation in dealing with 
federally owned lands, to provide for unification of 
grazing administration where ownership is diverse 
and lands intermingled, and to provide for stabliza- 
tion of the livestock industry. 

There are 10 cooperative state grazing districts 
within the ES area, cooperating with the BLM in 
development of allotment management plans (Map 
1-6). Table 1-8 provides detailed data on the affect- 
ed cooperative state grazing districts. A memoran- 
dum of understanding between the BLM and the 
Montana Department of Natural Resources and 
Conservation establishes procedures for coopera- 
tion on grazing management where public lands are 
included within grazing districts. The statewide 
agreement, and the complementary agreements 
between the individual state grazing districts and 
the BLM, specify in part that: (a) state grazing dis- 
trict approval of each AMP is required where state 
grazing district lands are involved, (b) BLM approval 
is required for any AMPs developed by the state 
grazing districts where public lands are involved, 
and (c) when BLM undertakes to write an environ- 
mental statement on any land within a state grazing 
district, the Bureau will notify the Department of 
Natural Resources and Conservation and the state 
grazing district(s) involved and request their recom- 
mendations and review. The memorandum also 
deals with cooperative administration of grazing 
trespass, determination of grazing capacities and 
levels of use, and billing and licensing procedures. 



The Old West Regional Commission is a Feder- 
al-State partnership whose function is to stimulate 
programs for orderly economic growth and develop- 
ment in the states of Montana, Nebraska, North 
Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Established 
in 1972 under the Public Works and Economic De- 
velopment Act of 1965, it is one of seven such 
commissions in the United States. 

In 1977, the Old West Commission instituted a 
two-year "Grazing Assistance and Evaluation Pro- 
gram" grant with the Montana Public Lands Coun- 
cil, a public lands users organization formed by the 
Montana Stock Growers Association. Because the 
BLM operates under tight time constraints in prepa- 
ration of allotment management plans and environ- 
mental impact assessment, the Montana Public 
Lands Council was organized to facilitate the ex- 
change of information between public land users 
and the BLM, and to evaluate the various tech- 
niques, procedures, and economics of the allotment 
management plans. 

The objectives of the Grazing Assistance and 
Evaluation Program are: 

1 To make an economic overview of the im- 
plications of the Bureau's actions on local 
communities and to assess the economic ef- 
fects of the Bureau's planning decisions on 
the economy of the Old West Region states. 

2. Technical monitoring of procedures used 
by the BLM to make sure they are adequate 
to reflect public interest. 

3. Communicate with users as to the BLM's 
decision and effects on their own operations. 

4. To develop avenues of communication be- 
tween the BLM, users, and Old West spon- 
sored team. 



Private Grazing Associations 

Four private grazing associations - Square Butte 
(26 members), Wittmayer (29 members), PN (17 
members), and Silver Dollar (27 members) - exist 
within the ES area. These associations are char- 
tered under the laws of the State of Montana, and 
three were formed with monies made available 
through the Farmers Home Administration (the 



1-29 




MAP 1-6 

COOPERATIVE STATE GRAZING DISTRICTS 



LEGEND 



Grazing Districts 



7. South Phillips 

11. Badlands 

12. Indian Buttes 

13. Crooked Creek 

14. Chain Buttes 



15. Grass Range 

16. Winnett 

17. Williams Coulee 

18. Weede 

19. Flatwillow 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Natural Resources and 
Conservation. 



1-30 



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1-31 



DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Silver Dollar Association did not use FHA funds). 
Grazing permits or licenses are held by individual 
members of the association; however, private graz- 
ing associations facilitate BLM administration of 
common allotments where numerous permittees 
are involved. In several instances, base property 
has been purchased and is used by all association 
members. 



1-32 



CHAPTER 2 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



CHAPTER 2 
DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



The following sections describe the environment 
of the Missouri Breaks Environmental Statement 
(ES) area. Each environmental component empha- 
sizes those items most likely to be impacted by 
implementation of the proposed action. 



and other places where bare soil is exposed. Pollen 
and spores from vegetation are seasonal additions 
to suspended particulate matter. Other air contami- 
nants are exhaust emissions from vehicles, and 
herbicides and pesticides from spraying. 



CLIMATE AND AIR QUALITY 



TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY 



The climate of the ES area is semiarid continen- 
tal. It is marked by cold winters, warm to rarely hot 
summers, 10 to 40 inches of precipitation annually, 
winds primarily from the west, and abundant sun- 
shine. 

Average annual precipitation ranges from less 
than 12 to more than 40 inches, but the bulk of the 
area is in the 12-inch to 16-inch range. Snow in the 
mountain areas may be several feet thick; on the 
plains, snow more than 12 inches deep is uncom- 
mon but not rare. Snow generally falls between 
November and April, although traces have been 
reported at Lewistown even in July and August. 

Average precipitation recorded at weather sta- 
tions in and adjacent to the ES area is shown by 3- 
month increments in Figure 2-1. Rainfall is concen- 
trated in the period from April through June. Pre- 
cipitation from July through September is character- 
ized by localized intense thunderstorms that can 
drop more than an inch of rain or hail on a small 
area in a few minutes. 

Winter temperatures in the ES area may be as 
low as -40 degrees for short periods, but the aver- 
age January mean monthly temperatures are 
around 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer tempera- 
tures as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit have been 
recorded, but the mean monthly July temperature is 
about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures may 
fluctuate widely during the course of a single day in 
either winter or summer, and local temperatures 
may be several degrees different than the average. 
The higher mountains generally are cooler than the 
plains and "breaks" areas during the summer. 
Growing seasons, defined as the times between 
the last frost in spring and the first fall frost (tem- 
peratures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit), range within 
the ES area from 1 04 to 1 32 days. 

Air quality in the ES area is regarded as good. 
No industrial sources of air contaminants lie within 
or adjacent to the area. Dust is blown about within 
and near the area from fallow grain fields, roads, 



The ES area includes mountains, plains, and 
riverbreaks topography. The mountains are con- 
fined to the western part of the area in Chouteau, 
Judith Basin, and Fergus Counties. The Little Rock- 
ies, which lie on the border of Blaine and Phillips 
Counties, is an isolated mountain area, but it 
shares climatic, topographic, and many geologic 
features with the other mountain areas. 

Topographically, the mountain areas are charac- 
teristically high. Altitudes range from around 4,000 
feet to over 8,000 feet. Steep slopes are common 
in the interstream areas, where the surface de- 
scends away from the central parts of the mountain 
masses. Streams radiate from the mountain ranges 
to the surrounding plains and thence to creeks or 
rivers that ultimately reach the Missouri River. 

The high plains areas, in contrast to the moun- 
tains, are lower in altitude, with land surface slopes 
on the order of a few tens or hundreds of feet per 
mile. The high plains are transitional from the 
mountains to the rolling plains, which are analogous 
to the prairies of the midwest. The high plains in 
the ES area border the mountains, and range from 
around 3,000 to 5,000 feet in altitude. Both types of 
plains are cut by steep-walled, low gradient inter- 
mittent to perennial streams. 

The rolling plains landform area includes the 
bulk of the nearly flat, low lying upland area be- 
tween the mountains with their skirting of high 
plains and the riverbreaks area. Topographically, 
relief in the rolling plains is largely produced by 
steep walls of low gradient intermittent or perennial 
streams. 

The riverbreaks topography is confined to that 
part of the ES area adjacent to the Missouri, Mus- 
selshell, and Judith Rivers and Arrow Creek. The 
land has undergone rapid erosion because of diver- 
sion of the Missouri (near the close of the ice ages, 
roughly 10,000 years ago) from its former course 
now occupied by Big Sandy Creek and Milk River. 
In terms of landscape development, the breaks 



2-1 



Figure 2-1 

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION IN ES AREA 



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Jan-Mar 



Apr-Jun Jul-Sep Oct-Dec 



Source: U.S. Weather Bureau 



2-2 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



area is in a youthful to early mature stage. Bottom- 
lands are narrow bands adjacent to the river, hill- 
sides are steep, tributary streams are steep- walled 
and have steep gradients, and the upland areas are 
gradually being removed by headward erosion of 
the small intermittent tributaries to the main 
streams. The land is intricately dissected, particular- 
ly near the Missouri River. The riverbreaks range in 
altitude from around 2,000 feet to about 3,000 feet. 

Fossils-evidence of life that existed in the geo- 
logic past-are found in many of the sedimentary 
rocks throughout the ES area. In Garfield and 
McCone Counties, remains of dinosaurs have been 
recovered from the Hell Creek Formation of Late 
Cretaceous age, and early mammal fossils have 
been found in the Tullock Member of the Fort 
Union Formation of early Tertiary age. Plant fossils 
are abundant in the coal beds of the Tullock and 
Tongue River Members of the Fort Union Forma- 
tion. Mammals of Pleistocene age have been dug 
out of gravels along both present-day and aban- 
doned streams. 



SOILS 



Soils in the ES area generally are well drained 
and moderately deep to shallow, with high clay 
contents. Deep soils occur as alluvial deposits 
along drainages. Sloping to very steep slopes pre- 
dominate, especially in the riverbreaks. 

Active geologic erosion is observed throughout 
the ES area, and is especially noticeable within the 
riverbreaks landform. Water erosion hazard gener- 
ally is severe whereas hazard of erosion due to 
wind varies from moderate to severe over most of 
the ES area. The low water permeability and slow 
water infiltration properties of the predominating 
clay loams, clays, and silty clays, combined with 
widespread occurrence of bare ground areas, pro- 
duces rapid surface runoff. This runoff erodes the 
predominating shallow and moderately deep soils 
that overlie the generally strongly rolling to steep 
terrain. 

Within the ES area, nine percent of the acreage 
under consideration for allotment management 
plans (AMPs) is presently in critical or severe ero- 
sion condition; within the riverbreaks landform this 
figure rises to 1 3 percent. Critical or severe erosion 
conditions are not restricted to badland vegetation 
types. 

The fine-textured soils (high in clay content) are 
especially susceptible to compaction from livestock 
trampling. Compaction-especially aggravated by 
trampling under wet soil conditions that occur 



during the spring months-results in reduced water 
infiltration (with less water available for plant 
growth) and increased surface runoff and associat- 
ed erosion. 

Accelerated erosion due to livestock in the ES 
area occurs near water sources and along drainage 
bottoms, with active gullying and headcutting ob- 
served in many of the allotments. Livestock trails 
are incised, particularly near existing water sources. 
Trail incision has not been quantified by monitoring 
studies. 



Soil Mapping Units 

County soil maps published by the Soil Conser- 
vation Service (SCS) were used to depict general 
distribution of soil properties throughout the ES 
area. Soil property interpretations were developed 
in cooperation with Jack Rogers, SCS, Montana 
State Soil Scientist. Fifty-one separate soil associ- 
ations were identified for the ES area. Map 2-1 
displays distribution of general soil associations. 

Interpretations for specific areas under consider- 
ation for allotment management plans (AMPs) were 
based on the most detailed soil surveys available. 
Chouteau County data north of the Missouri River is 
based upon Soils of Chouteau County, Soil Recon- 
naissance of Montana 1931, A General Survey. For 
Judith Basin County and adjacent Chouteau County 
areas south of the Missouri River, the Soil Survey, 
Judith Basin Area, Montana 1967, was utilized. 
Fergus and Petroleum County soil data was ob- 
tained from the less detailed Soils Survey (recon- 
naisance) for Central Montana 1953. Garfield 
County soils information was developed from a 
1977 detailed soil survey performed by the SCS 
under a Bureau of Land Management cooperative 
agreement. This data was aggregated and analyzed 
by the ES staff after completion of AMPs and man- 
agement framework plans (MFPs) within the Mus- 
selshell and Haxby Planning Units of Garfield 
County. Comparable unpublished detailed soils as- 
sociation data for McCone County was obtained 
from the McCone County SCS Office at Circle, 
Montana. Soils within the Willow Creek Planning 
Unit of Valley County were given a detailed inven- 
tory to the series level. Data was obtained from the 
Valley County SCS Office at Glasgow, Montana. 
For planning units in Phillips County, a 1977 de- 
tailed soil survey performed by the SCS under BLM 
cooperative agreement was utilized. As with the 
Garfield County planning units, this data was aggre- 
gated and analyzed by the ES staff after comple- 
tion of AMPs and MFPs. Unpublished detailed 
Blaine County soil data was obtained from the SCS 
Office at Chinook, Montana. 



2-3 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Fifteen soil mapping units dominate 58 percent 
of the total AMP acreage (see Map 2-1 and Table 
2-1). Descriptions of these major mapping units are 
included in Table 2-2 to give a general soils over- 
view of the ES area. Detailed descriptions of all soil 
mapping units are found in unit resource analysis 
(URA) records for the planning units, and are on file 
in the respective BLM Resource Area Offices. 



Physical Properties 



Physical properties of a soil largely determine 
soil capabilities and limitations. Size and arrange- 
ment of soil particles determine water infiltration 
and available water capacity, soil air movement, 
soil compaction and stability, and the soil's ability to 
supply nutrients to vegetation. Within the ES area, 
and particularly in the riverbreaks landform, soil tex- 
tures include high amounts of clay with associated 
soil compaction hazards. Permeability is slow and 
available water capacity tends to be moderate to 
low. Moderately deep and shallow soils predomi- 
nate, with deep soils generally found as alluvial 
deposits along drainages. There is a preponder- 
ance of slopes approaching 45 percent in steep- 
ness, and a nearly equal area including slopes ap- 
proaching 90 percent. Surface runoff is rapid. Ero- 
sion hazard is moderate to severe from water and 
moderate from wind over most of the area. 

Livestock grazing historically has affected the 
ES area soils. Under heavy grazing, trampling by 
livestock causes soil compaction, with lowered 
water infiltration and increased surface runoff. Less 
water is available for plant growth and the in- 
creased surface runoff accelerates geologic ero- 
sion. The fine-textured soils prevalent in the ES 
area are especially vulnerable to trampling damage. 
Trampling causes the greatest amount of compac- 
tion under wet soil conditions, as occur in the 
spring of the year. This damage is intensified 
through vegetation removal by livestock grazing. 
Under light grazing and dry soil conditions, tramp- 
ling has beneficial watershed effects in binding 
plant litter, green herbage and excreta to the soil, 
and in pressing seeds into the soil surface. Periodi- 
cally grazed vegetation has been found to be more 
vigorous thus creating more watershed ground 
cover than comparable areas excluded from graz- 
ing. 

Livestock tend to congregate along drainages 
and near additional water sources. Soil compaction 
from trampling is especially noted in these areas. 
Within the rolling plains landform, alluvial soils 
along drainages constitute approximately 22 per- 
cent of allotment acreage. In the riverbreaks land- 
form, this figure drops to 13 percent. 



Erosion 



The susceptibility of soil to erosion by water 
determines in large part the multiple use manage- 
ment decisions involved in protection of watershed 
and water quality. Extent and distribution of water 
erosion susceptibility is displayed in Table 2-3 and 
on Map 2-2. Figure 2-3 graphically illustrates the 
preponderance of severe to very severe water ero- 
sion susceptibility in the ES area (65.36 percent). In 
the riverbreaks area, where slopes are steep and 
geologic erosion predominates, severe to very 
severe water erosion susceptibility exists on 88 per- 
cent of the area. 

The present erosion condition classes (soil sur- 
face factor, or SSF) are an expression of current 
erosion activity based on field observation. Seven 
categories of surface features were evaluated to 
determine the present erosion condition class 
within each allotment area under study for allot- 
ment management plans within the total ES area. 
These evaluation categories include soil movement, 
surface litter, surface rock, pedestalling, rills, slope 
pattern, and gullies (see Figure 2-4). Five erosion 
condition classes were used to depict erosion activ- 
ity through numerical values: stable (SSF 0-20), 
slight (21-40), moderate (41-60), critical (61-80), 
and severe (81-100). Erosion condition categories, 
with acres and percentages, are given for the 
mountains, riverbreaks, and rolling plains AMPs in 
Table 2-4. Of the total ES allotment acreages, nine 
percent is in critical or severe erosion condition. 

Critical and severe erosion condition classes are 
of primary significance in evaluation of watershed 
condition. Map 2-3 displays the allotments in which 
critical and severe erosion classes occur with a 
breakdown by the percentage of the total area 
within each allotment which falls into the erosion 
condition classes. While less than seven percent of 
rolling plains AMP acreage is in critical or severe 
erosion condition, the comparable figure for the ri- 
verbreaks is 1 3 percent, reflecting the rough topog- 
raphy with high geologic erosion naturally occurring. 

There is not always a direct relationship be- 
tween range condition and erosion condition within 
the ES area. Approximately 21 percent of the grass 
vegetation type is in fair to poor range condition. 
Less than 4 percent of the grass type is in critical 
to severe erosion condition. Blue grama and club 
moss dominate silty range sites areas that are in 
fair to poor range condition, yet these same areas 
are in stable to moderate erosion condition. This 
ground cover is extremely effective in prevention of 
the acceleration of erosion. 

Within individual AMP areas, geologic erosion is 
generally observed, especially in the badland soils 



2-4 




Figure 2-2 Geologic erosion is a natural phenomenon from shale outcrops in the riverbreaks landform. 



2-5 



TABLE 2-1 
Soil Mapping Units Within AMPs 



Mapping Unit- 


Rolling Plains 


Riverbreaks 


Total AMP 


Area- 


Acres 


Rank 


Acres 


Rank 


Acres 


Rank 


Badlands 


158,252 


1 


423,969 


1 


582,221 


1 


Lismas 


99,256 


2 


122,730 


2 


221,986 


2 


Lisam 


86,512 


3 


49,459 


4 


135 971 


3 


Bainville 


32,802 




76,648 


3 


109,450 


4 


Lambeth 


59,388 


5 


48,302 


5 


107,690 


5 


Dilts 


71,123 


4 


28,571 


10 


99.694 


6 


Gerdrum 


58,686 


6 


22,652 




81,338 


7 


Alluvial Soils 


37,262 


8 


32,837 


7 


70,099 


8 


Cabbart 


33,104 


10 


29,832 


8 


62,936 


9 


Evanston 


22,852 




29,594 


9 


52,446 


10 


Busby 


24,468 




25,847 




50,315 


11 


Pierre 


37,167 


9 


12,581 




49,748 


12 


Elloam 


42,161 


7 


6,366 




48,527 


13 


Thebo 


9,392 




38,320 


6 


46,712 


14 


Cambeth 


32,000 








34,340 


15 


Total Acres 


804,425 




950,048 


1,754,437 



Percent of 
AMP Area 



47 



74 



58 



1/ Mapping units within individual landforms were given rankings through 

the ten greatest acreage blocks. Because acreages for individual mapping 
units varied markedly between landforms, the largest 15 mapping units 
were ranked for the total study area. 

2/ The mountains landform (17,079 acres) consists of mainly rough 
mountainous land and has not been mapped to sufficient detail for 
soil analysis. 

SOURCE: Bureau of Land Management and SCS soil survey data. 



2-6 




EROSION CONDITION 



AMPs with 20% or more of 
their acreage in critical or 
severe erosion condition. 



MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STAT EM ENT 



EROSION CONDITION 



SOURCE: Based on Individual AMP files. BLM 



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2-8 




LEGEND 

WATER EROSION SUSCEPTIBILITY 



I Very Severe 
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□ 



Slight 



NoncategorizerS U.S. 
Forest Service Lands 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 

WATER EROSION 
SUSCEPTIBILITY 



SOURCE: Based O 



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Figure 2-3 

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High Plains 




E. S. Area 



LEGEND 



J Very Severe 



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Mountains 



| | Severe 

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Not Categorized 



Source: BLM 1978, based on SCS general county soil maps 



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DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



types. Accelerated erosion due to livestock primar- 
ily occurs near water sources and along drainage 
bottoms, with active gullying and headcutting ob- 
served. Livestock trails are incised, particularly near 
water sources. 



WATER RESOURCES 



Ground Water 



Sedimentation 



Several data sources, listed in the accompany- 
ing tabulations, provide sedimentation rates for lo- 
cations within the four landform areas within the ES 
area. Differences in sedimentation rates for these 
areas result from soil variability, method of analysis, 
and length of record. Stable to slight sedimentation 
rates averaged .16 tons per acre, moderate rates 
averaged .48 tons per acre, severe rates averaged 
.94 tons per acre, and very severe rates averaged 
2.04 tons per acre. A total of 6,442,972 tons of 
sediment annually is estimated for the ES area (see 
Table 2-5). Sedimentation estimated for AMP areas 
is given in Table 2-6. 

Sediments carried in streams within the ES area 
represent a serious source of water pollution, and 
reflect high runoff and erosion rates, and stream 
channel erosion. Arrow Creek is the dominant silt 
carrier in the ES area. Other drainages posing sedi- 
mentation problems are Bullwhacker, Two Calf, and 
Cow Creeks and the Judith River (Montana Depart- 
ment of Health and Environmental Sciences, Envi- 
ronmental Sciences Division, Water Quality Bureau 
1975). The Willow Creek drainage, in the northeas- 
tern portion of the ES area, yields 3.8 tons per acre 
annually (Frickel 1972). Between 1948 and 1962, 
the BLM has developed 2,399 acres of water 
spreaders and 347 acres of contour furrowing to 
control sedimentation in the Willow Creek drainage. 

Without implementation of allotment manage- 
ment plans, accelerated erosion due to livestock 
could degrade erosion condition in drainage bot- 
toms and near water source developments. Trail 
incising also could continue to degrade watershed 
conditions. An overall long term five percent de- 
cline in erosion condition has been projected (see 
Table 2-7). Sediment yield also is expected to in- 
crease by five percent (see Table 2-6). Compaction 
effects of livestock trampling have not been quanti- 
fied. 



Ground water occurs in unconsolidated material 
(e.g., alluvium, glacial outwash, or terrace deposits) 
and in consolidated rocks such as sandstone, 
shaley sandstone, coal, limestone, or igneous 
rocks. The alluvium and glacial outwash, where 
they are mostly sand or gravel and are saturated, 
generally are potentially the most productive 
aquifers. However, they are limited to valleys of 
present or past streams. Much of the alluvium 
along small streams is composed of silt and clay 
derived from adjacent shale formations, and wells 
may require gravel packing or other special devel- 
opment techniques to furnish adequate supplies of 
stock water. 

The terrace deposits within the ES area are 
confined primarily to the high plains lands adjacent 
to the mountains. Their ground water supplies vary 
with the size and shape of the terraces - long and 
narrow terraces are likely to be essentially dry, 
whereas broad and wide terraces may capture and 
retain ground water in quantities adequate for live- 
stock use. 

The main bedrock aquifers in the ES area are 
(in descending order) the Fort Union Formation, the 
Fox Hills-basal Hell Creek unit, the Judith River 
Formation, the Eagle Sandstone, and the Kootenai 
Formation. Where they are exposed at the surface, 
they furnish good quality water, suitable for live- 
stock or household purposes. Where the formations 
are deeply buried, the water quality may be unsatis- 
factory for household use, but it may be suitable for 
livestock. Water in the bedrock aquifers is obtained 
principally from sandstone or coal beds. Limestone 
is scarce, and shaley sandstones generally yield 
little water. 

Between the aquifers listed are shale formations 
that normally do not yield water to wells. They may 
include beds or lenses of sandstone, but quality of 
the contained water is likely to be unsatisfactory for 
livestock or home usage. Shaley formations include 
the Bearpaw, Claggett, and Colorado Group. Where 
these formations crop out, ground water is not 
readily available. Wells can be drilled through the 
shale to tap underlying aquifers, but the wells may 
need to be several hundred feet deep. Water ob- 
tained from deep wells is likely to be a sodium 
bicarbonate type, high in total dissolved solids, 
warm, and under artesian pressure. 



2-12 



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2-15 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Pumped wells in the ES area yield 3-10 gallons 
per minute with some artesian wells yielding as 
much as 50 gallons per minute. 



Surface Water-Peak Discharges 



Discharge of surface water occurs when more 
water is available to the soil and plants than can be 
accepted. Peak discharge represents the maximum 
rejection of potential water supply, usually recorded 
as an annual event. Records of peak discharge are 
useful in determining the size of dams, spillways, 
bridge openings, and culverts that would be needed 
to retain or pass the flow without structural damage 
or failure. In the ES area, peak discharge must be 
considered in determining the size of dams and 
spillways for stock ponds in drainageways that nor- 
mally carry water for only a few weeks per year. 
The dams have to be provided with spillways that 
will pass a predictable peak discharge without loss 
of the dam or spillway channel. 

Statistics concerning annual peak flows for 
about 70 small drainage basins in and near the ES 
area have been published by the U.S. Geological 
Survey (Omang and Hull 1978). The report includes 
the annual peak flows for the period of record of 
each crest-stage gaging station. Not included are 
lesser discharges from storm or snowmelt events 
that may have exceeded peak discharges of other 
years. Most of the peak discharge stations in the 
ES area have been in operation since the early 
1960s; many have been discontinued after 15 to 20 
years, and some were installed in the early 1970s. 
Data from these stations is not meaningful to the 
analysis of the more remote locations on minor 
drainages which would be potentially impacted by 
the proposed action. 



Runoff 



When rain, hail, or snow falls on the land, its 
potential paths are varied. They are determined by 
factors that include the amount of available water; 
the condition of the soil (frozen, warm, dry, saturat- 
ed, dense, porous); growth stage of the vegetation; 
steepness, roughness, and orientation of land 
slopes; and amount of litter on the land surface. 
Most of the precipitation is transpired, evaporated, 
added to soil moisture, or added to the supply of 
ground water. Over broad areas, average annual 
precipitation of 10 to 40 inches will yield between 
0.25 and 5 inches of runoff. 

Most runoff is limited in time of occurrence to 
the first half of the year. Snowmelt in March or 



April, when the ground is still partly frozen, wi 1 ' 
produce runoff that may be the record flow of the 
year from a small gully or intermittent stream. Pre- 
cipitation in April, May, and June usually produces a 
second peak flow, which may or may not exceed 
the volume from snowmelt. Later rain usually does 
not result in noticeable runoff unless it is from an 
intense thunderstorm. The gentle rains in late 
spring and summer generally serve only to replen- 
ish soil moisture. Rainfall in spring seldom pro- 
duces significant runoff until the soil zone has 
become nearly saturated. 

Runoff in a small drainage area determines if a 
stock pond or reservoir can furnish water through- 
out the year or only during the spring and early 
summer. The amount of water that can be inter- 
cepted from runoff also governs the possible in- 
crease in forage production from surface manipula- 
tion techniques. 

The U.S. Geological Survey has established 29 
continuous-record gaging stations in and adjacent 
to the ES area to measure streamflow in the Mis- 
souri River, Musselshell River, Redwater Creek, Big 
Dry Creek, Peoples Creek, and two tributaries to 
the Judith River (U.S. Department of the Interior, 
Geological Survey 1977). The distribution of the 
stations makes their data nearly useless for deter- 
mining average annual streamflow or runoff in the 
small drainage basins within the ES area. A gener- 
alized figure, based on the average annual runoff of 
0.25 to 5 inches, is more meaningful in terms of the 
amount of surface water available to replenish or 
maintain stock ponds and reservoirs or to sustain 
additional vegetation. 



Chemical Quality 



No meaningful data on a broad scale is availa- 
ble on the chemical quality for the affected sites in 
the ES area. The chemical quality of water in the 
ES area is controlled by the paths that the water 
takes from the land surface to its point of withdraw- 
al. The U.S. Geological Survey operates 15 stream 
sampling stations in and adjacent to the ES area. 
Surface water in the mountain areas usually has 
the least opportunity to pick up soluble material and 
therefore is apt to contain the lowest concentration 
of dissolved solids of any water in the area except 
snowmelt or rain water. As streams pass from the 
mountains to the plains, they pass over and 
through particles of rock and soil in their valleys. 
They also receive ground water from aquifers 
through which they pass. The rock and soil parti- 
cles contribute soluble material, and the ground 
water adds solutes from its aquifers. Consequently, 
the concentration of dissolved solids in streams in 



2-16 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



the plains areas is normally higher than in the 
mountain streams. Water in the riverbreaks area 
tends to have a still higher concentration of dis- 
solved solids. However, the water in Fort Peak 
Reservoir does not reflect this trend. The reservoir 
is operated in part to retain the runoff from snow- 
melt and spring rains. Its chemical load is markedly 
lower than that of the contributing perennial 
streams, primarily because the water in the reser- 
voir dilutes their water. 

Seeps are places where water comes to the 
land surface. Some seeps have formed down- 
stream from reservoirs. Water has passed through 
the dam or through the rock bounding the reservoir 
and has emerged below the dam. In places, the 
emergent water contains undesirable amounts of 
sodium, calcium, bicarbonate, or sulfate. Generally, 
the salts have been acquired from the shaley bed- 
rock basin of the reservoir. When the water is 
evaporated or transpired, the dissolved salts that 
are precipitated at the land surface or in the soil 
zone may effectively sterilize the soil. The barren 
patch, which is termed a saline seep, may cover as 
much area as the reservoir. 

The Bearpaw, Claggett, and Colorado Shales 
commonly underlie reservoir sites. Movement of 
water through shale normally is so slow as to be 
insignificant. However, if bedrock at the reservoir 
includes sandy shale or shaley sandstone beds, the 
coarser strata may be avenues for relatively rapid 
movement of water from the reservoir to the land 
surface elsewhere below the dam. 



Biological Quality 



Fecal coliform bacteria are part of the water 
quality where livestock and wildlife have access to 
streams and reservoirs. Runoff from areas around 
stock tanks is also liable to be bacterially contami- 
nated; however, the chances for degradation of ad- 
jacent water are reduced with distance of overland 
flow and time for consequent aeration. The existing 
contamination does not cause physical problems 
with the animals which subsequently use the water; 
rather, it presents an aesthetic impact to the human 
observer. Biologically, the addition of animal waste 
to streams and reservoirs promotes growth of 
aquatic and semi-aquatic plants by providing nutri- 
ents in soluble form to the water. 



VEGETATION 



Vegetation Types and Species 
Composition 



Vegetal cover in the ES area consists primarily 
of various types of grassland with short and mid- 
grasses typical of the Northern Great Plains pre- 
dominating. Sagebrush is typically found on the 
heavier soils and along stream bottoms and flood 
plains. Other dominant shrub-like plants are broom 
snakeweed and rabbitbrush. Woodland type timber 
is common in the breaks of the Missouri River and 
on other rough lands in the area. Most trees in the 
ES area are scrub trees of little commercial value. 
Along streams and draws are thickets of such 
shrubs as buffaloberry, chokecherry, snowberry, 
serviceberry, willow, and wild rose. 

Some of the dominant grasses are blue grama; 
bluebunch, western, and thickspike wheatgrasses; 
needleandthread; prairie junegrass; threadleaf 
sedge; and sandberg bluegrass. Disturbed sites 
have a predominance of blue grama, and forb in- 
vaders and half-shrubs such as fringed sagebrush, 
broom snakeweed, and phlox are not uncommon. 

Because of the size of the ES area, it was not 
possible to map the existing vegetation types at the 
scale necessary to be included as part of the ES 
document, although each allotment in the ES area 
has had the vegetation types mapped; the maps 
are part of the allotment record. Allotment records 
containing existing detailed vegetation information 
are available at the BLM State Office. Major vege- 
tation types by allotment, and the existing range 
condition of these types are displayed in Appendix 
6. 

For purposes of this analysis, the map, "Climax 
Vegetation, Montana" from the publication "Climax 
Vegetation of Montana Based on Soils and Cli- 
mate" (Ross and Hunter 1976) was used, with 
some modification, to delineate the climax (poten- 
tial) plant communities within the ES area (Map 2- 
4). The distribution of existing vegetation types is 
similar to the climax distribution at the map scale 
used in this analysis. 

The vegetation types in Table 2-8 and in Appen- 
dix 6 are in accordance with BLM Manual designa- 
tions (4412.11 A) and are determined by the domi- 
nant plants in the current aspect. The vegetation 
types occurring within the ES area allotments are: 
grass, meadow, sagebrush, mountain shrub, coni- 
fer, saltbush, greasewood, and annuals. A brief 
definition for these types follows: 



2-17 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Grass. Grassland other than meadow. Perennial 
grasses such as western and bluebunch wheat- 
grass, needleandthread, Sandberg bluegrass, green 
needlegrass, blue grama, little bluestem, and June 
grass predominate and determine the aspect, al- 
though forbs and shrubs may be present. 

Meadow. Sedges, rushes, and moisture-enduring 
grasses such as bluegrass, needlegrass, and west- 
ern wheatgrass predominate. 

Sagebrush. All untimbered lands where sagebrush 
or shrubby species of similar character predomi- 
nate. Grasses associated with this type include 
western and bluebunch wheatgrass, blue grama, 
Sandberg bluegrass, plains reedgrass, and need- 
leandthread. 

Mountain Shrub. All untimbered lands where moun- 
tain shrubs, excepting sagebrush, give the main 
aspect or are the predominant vegetation. Common 
species associated with this type include Douglas 
fir, ponderosa pine, snowberry, shrubby cinquefoil, 
arrowleaf balsamroot, Columbia needlegrass, and 
bluebunch wheatgrass. 

Conifer. All range in coniferous timber supporting 
grasses, forbs, or shrubs, either singly or in combi- 
nation. Common species include ponderosa pine, 
snowberry, skunkbrush, bluebunch and western 
wheatgrass, green needlegrass, plains muhly, 
carex, and June grass. 

Saltbush. The various salt desert shrubs of the Atri- 
p/ex genus form the predominant vegetation, or 
give the characteristic aspect. Other species in- 
clude big sagebrush, tumble grass, western wheat- 
grass, and blue grama. 

Greasewood. Greasewood (Sarcobatus) is the pre- 
dominant vegetation, or gives the characteristic 
aspect. Other species include western wheatgrass, 
Sandberg bluegrass, inland saltgrass, and big sage- 
brush. 

Annuals. Annual forbs or grasses constitute the 
dominant vegetation. Common annuals include 
broom snakeweed, cheatgrass, Russian thistle, and 
six weeks fescue. 

The grass vegetative type is the most common 
type in the ES area, accounting for 60 percent of 
the total acres. Sagebrush is the second most 
dominant vegetative type (22 percent), followed by 
conifer (13 percent). The other types make up the 
remaining 5 percent. 

There are no existing or proposed allotments in 
the high plains landform. The rolling plains landform 
has the largest amount of acreage within the ES 
area with 58 percent of the total. The riverbreaks 
landform accounts for 42 percent, while the moun- 
tains landform is less than 1 percent. 



The four major landforms within the ES area, 
i.e., mountains, high plains, riverbreaks, and rolling 
plains (Map 1-3), were used to group the range 
sites by topographic similarities and precipitation 
zones. 

Each landform has its own characteristic live- 
stock management considerations, precipitation 
zones, topography, land uses, land ownership pat- 
terns, and vegetative potentials. The landforms 
were therefore treated as separate units as op- 
posed to the division by geographic areas used by 
Ross and Hunter (1976). Range sites were grouped 
into landforms based on these similar characteris- 
tics. Within the rolling plains landform are 17 range 
sites. The precipitation zone is primarily 10-14 
inches, and the predominant vegetation is western, 
bluebunch, and thickspike wheatgrass, and green 
needlegrass. The riverbreaks landform is composed 
of two range sites, and is also in the 10-14 inch 
precipitation zone. Wheatgrasses, Rocky Mountain 
juniper, ponderosa pine, and some Douglas fir are 
the common vegetative cover, with the distinguish- 
ing feature of this landform being the Missouri River 
Breaks. The high plains landform has four range 
sites, and is primarily in the 15-19 inch precipitation 
zone, with fescues the characteristic grasses. The 
mountains landform is composed of the seven 
higher elevation range sites, precipitation is gener- 
ally greater than 19 inches, and the vegetative 
cover is dominated by timber species such as 
Douglas fir, Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa 
pine, subalpine fir, and limber pine. 

Range sites are the mapping units for the climax 
plant communities map (Map 2-4). A range site is a 
distinctive kind of rangeland that differs from other 
kinds of rangeland in its ability to produce a charac- 
teristic natural plant community. A range site is the 
product of all the environmental factors responsible 
for its development. It is capable of supporting a 
native plant community typified by an association of 
species that differs from that of other range sites in 
the kind or proportion of species or in total produc- 
tion. 

A climax plant community is capable of perpet- 
uation under prevailing climatic and edaphic condi- 
tions (Society for Range Management 1974, p. 5). 
The climax plant community of a range site is gen- 
erally dominated by one or more species. Their 
dominance does not vary from place to place or 
year to year. Because of their stability in the climax 
plant community, the dominant species are used to 
identify sites and distinguish one site from another 
(U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation 
Service 1 976, Sec. 302.3). 

The plant species for each range site in Appen- 
dix 7 are listed in order of dominance. Grasslands 
and forest understory dominance was determined 



2-18 




LEGEND 

PLANT CLIMAX COMMUNITIES 



Silty Range Sites ft ■ 3 • 6- 11 - 12 - 20- 21) 

Silty-Clayey Range Sites (2-4 -7 -13-22) 
Clayey-Shallow Clayey Range Sites (5- 8- 14- 15- 17 -23) 
Dense Clay-Clayey-Saline Upland Range Sites (9) 
Badlands Range Sites (10) 
Riverbreaks Range Sites (18-19) 
Alpine Grassland Range Sites (24) 



I I Forest Grassland Range Sites (16-25) 

| Rockland & High Elevation Vegetation Range Sites (30) 

J Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine Range Sites (26) 

CZH Subalpine Fir, Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine Range Sites (27) 

I H Subalpine Fir, Douglas Fir Climax Range Sites (28) 

I I Spruce, Douglas Fir Climax Range Sites (29) 

NOTE: For discussion of individually numbered range sites, 
refer to the Range Site Appendix 7. 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEM EN T 

CLIMAX PLANT 
COMMUNITIES 



MAP 2-4 



TABLE 2-8 

Present Range Condition by Vegetation Type 
Within Landform Areas 





Veg . Type 


Acres 


Range Condition (acres) 


Landform 


Excellent 


Good 


Fair 


Poor 


Mountains 


Grass 


6,221 


120 


4,176 


1,925 







Conifer 


4,877 





589 


4,288 







Meadow 


557 








275 


282 


Subtotal 




11,655 


120 


4,765 


6,488 


282 






(<1%) 


(1%) 


(41%) 


(56%) 


(2%) 


Riverbreaks 


Grass 


643,243 


212,813 


293,908 


133,259 


3,263 




Conifer 


333,601 


96,277 


187,722 


47,843 


1,759 




Sagebrush 


210,279 


37,141 


113,157 


56,570 


3,411 




Greasewood 


16,845 


3,932 


7,686 


4,384 


843 




Saltbush 


270 





270 








Subtotal 




1,204,238 


350,163 


602,743 


242,056 


9,276 






(42%) 


(29%) 


(50%) 


(20%) 


(1%) 


Rolling 














Plains 


Grass 


1,075,522 


161,875 


705,030 


201,904 


6,713 




Conifer 


36,695 


3,086 


32,446 


1,163 







Sagebrush 


437,719 


74,407 


259,748 


89,820 


13,744 




Greasewood 


78,004 


616 


48,005 


28,466 


917 




Saltbush 


27,252 





2,398 


18,324 


6,530 




Mtn. Shrub 


770 





740 


30 







Meadow 


1,385 





1,385 










Annuals 


16,741 


640 


4,644 


11,457 





Subtotal 




1,665,263 


240,624 


1,054,396 


351,164 


27,904 






(58%) 


(14%) 


(63%) 


(21%) 


(2%) 


TOTAL 




2,889,981 


590,907 


1,661,904 


599,708 


37,462 








(20%) 


(58%) 

i 


(21%) 


(1%) 



2-19 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



by the average relative plant composition by 
weight. Species dominance in the forest overstory 
was determined by relative canopy cover (Ross and 
Hunter 1976, p. 3). A description of the soil group 
names used to define the range sites within the ES 
area is also included in Appendix 7. 

Some range sites are a combination of one or 
more soil-group names and are referred to as an 
association or complex. A range site complex has 
two different soil types within the same mapping 
unit. Each type responds differently to various land 
uses and management practices, but they were 
mapped as one unit because they could not be 
delineated separately at the map scale used 
(1:500,000). Range site associations are two or 
more range sites that have been consolidated 
under one designation also, because they too 
would be difficult to delineate separately, and their 
response to land use and management is similar 
enough to justify grouping them (Hunter 1978, per- 
sonal communication). 

The proposed action would revise, implement, 
or maintain existing allotment management plans 
(AMPs) on 18 of the 30 climax range sites located 
within the ES area. 

Riparian vegetation, an important component of 
the vegetation mosaic, lines the banks of the Mis- 
souri and Musselshell Rivers, with scattered stands 
along streams and springs within the ES area. Be- 
cause the riparian vegetation type generally has 
more diversity in composition, and provides more 
green, succulent forage later in the year than the 
surrounding range which has cured out, it is utilized 
heavily by livestock as well as most other herbi- 
vores. 

Cottonwoods are the major riparian overstory 
species, along with ash, boxelder, and willows. A 
variety of forb and grass species provide a diverse 
understory. Livestock and wildlife also seek these 
sites for the shade and cover they provide. 



Appendix 6, Existing and Projected Range Con- 
dition and Productivity by Allotment, lists the exist- 
ing forage productivity for each allotment in the ES 
area. In summary, the rolling plains landform area 
has 179,508 AUMs, the riverbreaks landform area 
has 111,226 AUMs, and the mountains landform 
has 768 AUMs, for a total existing livestock forage 
productivity within the ES area of 291,502 AUMs. 



Potential Livestock Forage 
Productivity 

For the individual soil mapping units within the 
ES area (see Chapter 2 Soils), acreages were plan- 
imetered within each area with a proposed allot- 
ment management plan. Total potential productivity 
figures include a high value for favorable years, a 
low value for unfavorable years, and an average 
value (see Appendix 4). These estimates are for 
potential forage productivity, given range in excel- 
lent condition under climax vegetation conditions. 
The figures represent an estimate of the greatest 
potential of which this land is capable under opti- 
mum conditions. 

The average livestock forage estimate for the 
rolling plains landform area was calculated at 40 
percent of total forage; that for the riverbreaks was 
calculated at 30 percent of total forage. In the ab- 
sence of livestock forage productivity data on an 
individual soil basis for the mountains landform 
area, the figure of seven acres per AUM was uti- 
lized, as given in "Vegetative Rangeland Types," 
Bulletin 671, Montana Agricultural Experiment Sta- 
tion, April 1973. Conversion to AUMs utilize a 1,000 
pounds per AUM ratio. Summations of these poten- 
tial productivity figures by landform area are given 
in Table 2-9. Comparable data was not available for 
existing AMP areas. 



Range Condition and Trend 



Present Livestock Forage Productivity 



The Missouri River Breaks Rangeland Inventory 
data have been the basis for setting grazing capac- 
ity on most allotments, including the 52 operational 
AMPs. Based on the utilization, trend, and actual 
use data that are being collected on these allot- 
ments, it has generally been found to be reliable 
information. See Appendix 1 , Methodology for De- 
termining Livestock Forage Allocation and Stocking 
Rates, for a detailed explanation of how present 
livestock forage productivity was determined. 



The range condition of the allotments within the 
ES area is expressed as excellent, good, fair, or 
poor. These condition classes reflect the current 
vegetation composition of the range relative to 
what the composition would be in climax. Range 
condition is an expression of departure from poten- 
tial (Dyksterhuis 1949, p. 106). As Dyksterhuis 
(1949, p. 107) points out, range classified in excel- 
lent condition could be producing less than maxi- 
mum forage production. For example, a timber site 
near climax condition may provide little livestock 
forage because of a dense canopy cover. On the 
other hand, the California annual grasslands are 



2-20 



TABLE 2-9 



Potential Forage Productivity 



1/ 



Landform 


Proposed 


Area 


AMP Areas 






(AUMs) 


Rolling Plains 






BLM 




794,875 


OTHER 




496,725 


TOTAL 


1 


,291,600 


Riverbreaks 






BLM 




572,070 


OTHER 




351,021 


TOTAL 




923,091 


• 3/ 

Mountains— 






BLM 




11,004 


OTHER 




6,075 


TOTAL 




17,079 


Total 






BLM 


1 


,377,949 


OTHER 




853,821 


TOTAL 


2 


,231,770 



Average 
Total 
Productivity 



(AUMs) 



632,397 

395,222 

1,027,619 



410,243 
251,760 
662,003 



5,240 
2,893 
8,133 



1,047,880 

649,875 

1,697,755 



Average 

Livestock 

Forage 



2/ 



(AUMs) 



242,959 
158,089 
411,048 



123,073 

75,528 

198,601 



1,572 

868 

2,440 



377,604 
234,485 
612,089 



1/ Productivity estimates expressed in AUMs are based on pounds total forage 
per acre for individual soil series, as supplied by the U.S. Soil Conserva- 
tion Service. 

2/ Average estimate for forage was calculated at 40% of total forage in the 
rolling plains landform area, and at 30% of total forage in the river- 
breaks and mountains. 

3/ In the absence of livestock forage productivity data on an individual soil 
basis for the mountains landform area, the figure of 7 acres per AUM was 
utilized, as given in "Vegetative Rangeland Types," Bulletin 671, Montana 
Agricultural Experiment Station, Bozeman, Montana, April 1973. Conversion 
to pounds of forage use a 1,000 pounds forage per AUM ratio. 



2-21 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



presently managed to maximize forage production 
in its present poor condition class. Therefore, the 
range management goal may be to maintain range 
condition at something less than climax in order to 
maximize forage production. Appendix 6 displays 
present and future range condition and productivity 
by vegetation type within each allotment. Allot- 
ments are further identified by range site, landform, 
and finally by those allotments requiring substantial 
or minor improvements. Table 2-8 is a summariza- 
tion of the present range condition data from Ap- 
pendix 6. 

Overall range condition for the entire ES area is 
20 percent excellent, 58 percent good, 21 percent 
fair, and 1 percent in poor condition. As 78 percent 
of the range that is grazed by livestock is in good 
to excellent condition, present livestock manage- 
ment practices would appear to be doing an ade- 
quate job. But some range that is in good to excel- 
lent condition is in a downward trend. Also, good 
condition rangeland may be producing only one-half 
of its potential. Map 2-5 shows existing and pro- 
posed AMPs with 20 to 50 percent and 51 to 100 
percent of their acreage in fair and/or poor range 
condition class. 

Present range condition is shown only for those 
acres that are native rangeland and are accessible 
to livestock. Therefore, dense stands of timber or 
brush, and extremely steep slopes which are either 
inaccessible or have little or no forage value for 
domestic livestock, were not included. Likewise, 
seedings of exotic species (such as crested wheat- 
grass), and privately owned lands that are used for 
crop or hay production within an allotment were not 
included in the range condition computations. 

The present range condition determinations 
were made in the 1950s and 1960s by the Missouri 
River Basin BLM Range Survey and BLM District 
personnel. Beginning July 1, 1975, parts of the area 
were again analyzed. The latest inventory resulted 
in more land in several allotments being classified 
as unsuitable, with subsequent reductions in AUMs 
and livestock numbers. Where range condition had 
obviously changed since the original survey, condi- 
tion class adjustments were also made. 

Range trend data is collected each year on the 
existing AMPs. Several standard BLM techniques, 
which include 3x3 plots, point transects, and 
photo trend plots, are used to establish trend. 
Based on these studies, the relative ecological con- 
dition for the existing AMP allotments is either in an 
upward, static, or downward trend (Table 2-10). For 
those allotments that have not completed one graz- 
ing cycle, trend projections would be premature and 
were not attempted. 



There are 52 allotments currently under an allot- 
ment management plan. Of these existing AMPs, 
17 are in an upward range condition trend, and 22 
are static (reflect no change in range condition 
either upward or downward). There are also 13 
AMPs that have not yet completed one grazing 
cycle so no projections were attempted. There are 
no existing AMPs in either the high plains or moun- 
tains landforms. 



Poisonous and Noxious Plants 



Several noxious and poisonous plant species 
are found within the ES area. Although these spe- 
cies do not pose a major problem, livestock opera- 
tors have occasionally reported livestock losses 
that are significant to individual operations. 

The five important noxious species found in the 
ES area are Canada thistle, leafy spurge, dalmation 
toad flax, field bindweed, and Russian knapweed. 
These species are unpalatable to nearly all classes 
of livestock. Only under extreme conditions would 
they be eaten even in small amounts, with the 
possible exception of leafy spurge which is occa- 
sionally utilized by sheep. They are invader species 
that once established will compete with desirable 
forage species for space, moisture, and soil nutri- 
ents. 

Table 2-1 1 lists the important poisonous species 
known to occur in the ES area. It should be recog- 
nized that many species that are potentially poison- 
ous may be harmless under most circumstances. 
Some of these species are valuable forage for live- 
stock and wildlife. Also, many poisonous species 
affect all classes of livestock to some degree, but 
the class that has been checked in the table is 
most susceptible. 



Threatened and Endangered Species 



There are no officially recognized threatened or 
endangered plant species; however, four plant spe- 
cies have been identified as potentially threatened 
or endangered in Montana based on an unpub- 
lished study conducted for the U.S. Forest Service 
by T.J. Watson, Jr., Assistant Professor of Botany, 
University of Montana, in September 1976. None of 
these plants are known to occur within the ES area. 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Public 
Law 93-205) approved December 28, 1973, was 
established to provide statutory protection for 
threatened and endangered species of plants and 
animals. As a result of this Act, the Smithsonian 



2-22 



TABLE 2-10 
Range Trend for Existing Allotment Management Plans 



Allotment 



Allotment 
Number 



Upward 



Trend 
Static 



Downward 



Cycle Not 
Completed 



Rolling Plains Landform 



Erie 

Burgess Ranch 

Thorgarrd Unit 

Harbaugh 

Nickels Ranch 

Snell & Sons 

Rafter 3 Ranch 

Taylor 

Trumbo & Sons 

S. Hungry Creek 

Snap Creek 

Lone Tree Creek 

Lower Little Beaver 

Lewis/Bomber 

Willow Creek 

Seven Point 

Pike Creek 

Blood Creek 

Flatwillow 

King 

First Creek School 

Upper Long Coulee 

Stratton Coulee 

Lower Dog Creek 

West Dry Fork 

Lavelle Creek 

Nichols Coulee 

Telegraph Creek 

Sherard Field 

N. Fork Lion Coulee 



0030 


X 




2038 


X 




2104 






2124 




X 


2242 




X 


2316 


X 




2318 






2334 


X 




2342 






2345 




X 


2347 




X 


4581 






4583 




X 


4585 


X 




4590 






4598 




X 


4880 




X 


4896 




X 


5036 




X 


5055 


X 




5450 






5451 






5453 






5455 






5615 




X 


5625 




X 


5627 




X 


5654 




X 


6176 




X 


6192 


X 







7 


14 



X 
X 

X 



X 
X 
X 

X 



Riverbreaks Landform 



Demars 

Woodhawk 

Mattuscheck 

River 

PN 

Stulc 

Norskog 

WJ Brown & Son 



0025 


X 




0031 


X 




0045 


X 




0046 






0067 


X 




0081 




X 


2023 




X 


2030 







X 



2-23 



TABLE 2-10, continued 





Allotment 




Trend 




Cycle Not 


Allotment 


Number 


Upward 


Static 


Downward 


Completed 


Rich 


2274 




X 






Pense 


2374 




X 






Busenbark 


2503 


X 








Iverson 


4957 


X 








Jackson 


4958 


X 








Cabin Creek 


5609 








X 


Square Butte 


5612 




X 






Beauchamp Creek 


5628 


X 








3 Mile Ridge 


6164 


X 








Bullwhacker 


6181 


X 








Hay Coulee Common 


6182 




X 






Greens Bench 


6184 




X 






Golf Bench 


6203 




X 






Dostal 


9863 








• X 



10 



TOTAL 



52 



17 



22 



13 



Source: Cpntinuing range trend studies (AMP files) 



2-24 




UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 



RANGE CONDITION 



□ 



AMPs with 20 to 50% of their acreage 
in fair and/or poor condition 



□ AMPs with 51 to 100% of their acreage 
In lair and/or poor range condition 



MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



RANGE CONDITION 



SOURCE: Based on individual AMP files. 8LM 



MAP 2-5 



TABLE 2-11 

Important Poisonous Plants Found Within the ES Area 



Type of 
Plant 



Habitat 



Poisonous 
Principle 



Most Dangerous 
Seasons 



Livestock 
Affected 



Species Name 



O 



4J 


3 


8 


c 


ea 


a; 


x 


u 


O 


cc 



c 

i- o 

o c 
u -* 

qj C 



o 



c 

c 
c 

c 
D 



Death Camas 
(Zygadenus spp) 

Low larkspur 
(Delphinium bicolor) 

Tall larkspur 
(D. occidentale) 

Lupine 
(Lupinus spp.) 

Pointloco 
(Oxytropis spp.) 

White Sweetclover 
(Melilotus alba) 

Yellow Sweetclover 
(M. officinalis) 

Ponderosa Pine 
(Pinus ponderosa) 

Greasewood 
(Sarcobatus 



vermiculatus) 

Milkweed 
(Asclepias spp.) 

Milkvetch 
(Astragalus spp.) 

Water Hemlock 
(Cicuta douglasii) 

Poison Hemlock 
Conium maculatum) 

Halogeton 
Halogeton 

glomeratus) 



Chokecherry 
(Prunus virginiana) 



"troublesome in hay 



SOURCE: Leininger, Wayne C, John E. Taylor and Carl L. 
Wambolt, 1977. Poisonous range plants in Montana: 
Cooperative Extension Service, Montana State 
University, Bozeman, Bull. 348, 60 pp. 



2-25 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Institution submitted a list of plant species suspect- 
ed of being threatened or endangered in the United 
States. This list was printed in the Federal Register 
of July 1, 1975. There were ten species located in 
Montana. This list was later revised by the Office of 
Endangered Species of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service and published in the Federal Register of 
June 16, 1976. This new list eliminated eight of the 
previously included species but added one other. 
Thus, only three remained. 

The findings of Watson (1976) were in agree- 
ment with the revised threatened and endangered 
list for the species Silene spaldingii and Trisetum 
orthochaetum, but reported that Phlox missoulen- 
sis, the third species on the revised list of Montana 
species, was not at the present time either threat- 
ened or endangered. He also concluded that Grin- 
delia howellii and Penstemon lemhiensis which 
were not on the list should be included. 

Therefore, based on Watson's investigation, 
only four species should be considered at this time 
as potentially endangered in Montana. These four 
species-Si/ene spa/dengii, Grindelia howellii, Pen- 
stemon lemhiensis, and Trisetum orthochaetum are 
all found only on the western side of the state. 

The species Rorippa ca/ycena, known to occur 
in eastern Montana, was reported by Watson as 
needing further exploration before its status is de- 
termined. Therefore, as this species may potentially 
be found within the ES area, for purposes of this 
analysis it will be considered as if it were threat- 
ened. 



WILDLIFE 



Mammals 



Mule Deer 

Mule deer are the most abundant big game 
animal in the ES area with an estimated population 
between 14,000 and 23,000 (Table 2-12 and Figure 
2-5). This population is relatively low compared to 
the deer populations of the mid 1950s. Mule deer 
populations declined starting in the late 1950s and 
have remained at moderate to low densities from 
the early 1970s to the present time. Although re- 
search on the causes of mule deer population fluc- 
tuations has been generally inconclusive, many au- 
thors have concluded that, ". . . where deer are on 
a high quality diet, other environmental factors are 
not as important" (Pengelly 1976). Mackie (1970) 
considers the occurrence of drought every three to 



four years the basic limiting factor in big game/ 
livestock management in this area. Mule deer com- 
petition with livestock for forage (South Bearpaw 
and other URAs) is most significant from October 
through June. Sagebrush manipulations have re- 
duced mule deer habitat (South Bearpaw Planning 
Unit URA). Probably the most serious situation 
occurs when livestock are wintered, often with sup- 
plemental feed, on key winter ranges for mule deer. 
This problem is most common, however, on private 
land in the mountain foothills (Belt Planning Unit 
URA). In some areas poor habitat conditions have 
resulted from overuse during periods of high deer 
populations. Without the proposed action, mule 
deer populations are expected to continue to in- 
crease for the next few (perhaps 3 to 4) years. 
Beyond that, the timing, direction, and magnitude of 
their fluctuations are impossible to predict. 

High value mule deer habitat in the Missouri 
Breaks is characterized by the pine/juniper and sa- 
gebrush/wheatgrass vegetation types. High value 
prairie habitat is characterized by coulee heads 
containing deciduous browse with an interspersion 
of palatable forbs along intermittent streams and 
broken badlands. Important habitats that have been 
identified are delineated and acreages tabulated on 
Map 2-6. Most of the 487,000 acres of winter con- 
centration areas are in mountainous areas where 
there are no AMPs, while most of the identified 
high value year round habitat is within the AMPs. 
The only areas of non-habitat are areas of intensive 
agriculture, mostly near the south half of the border 
between Judith Basin and Fergus Counties. 

Mackie (1970) showed that (in the breaks) 
browse was the most important forage classifica- 
tion for mule deer in all seasons, increasing from 
56 percent use in spring to 97 percent use in 
winter. Forbs were most important (41 percent of 
the diet) in the summer time, grasses most impor- 
tant (11 percent of the diet) in the spring. Key 
forage sources for mule deer are skunkbush sumac 
and rubber rabbitbrush. When or where these 
plants are abundant and moderately utilized during 
summer and fall, big sagebrush and Rocky Moun- 
tain juniper are of secondary importance. Yellow 
sweetclover is also important to mule deer, and its 
heavy use during years of abundance can relieve 
pressure on key browse species. 



White-tailed Deer 

Roughly 9,000 to 14,000 white-tailed deer prob- 
ably occur within the ES area (Table 2-12). They 
are most abundant along the bottomlands of the 
major waterways such as the Missouri, Musselshell, 
and Judith Rivers. However, whitetails also occur 
along lesser drainages, and they have moved into 



2-26 




Figure 2-5 Mule deer. This is the most abundant big game animal in the ES area. There is evidence that drought 
and competition with livestock are important limiting factors. 



2-27 



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2-28 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



some of the timbered breaks and mountainous 
areas. Important use areas for white-tailed deer are 
delineated and acreages tabulated on Map 2-7. 
The vast majority of these habitats occur on non- 
AMP areas. 

Whitetail populations are generally increasing 
within the ES area. The main factor limiting whitetail 
populations from more rapid expansion is the use 
of bottomlands and coulees by livestock (South 
Bearpaw Planning Unit URA). 

Browse and forbs were the most important 
vegetation classes for whitetails at all seasons in 
the Missouri River bottoms with browse being espe- 
cially important in fall and winter, at which time 
heavy use of browse by cattle was also document- 
ed (Allen 1968). The use of grass species was 
significant only in the spring when they comprised 
about 38 percent of the diet in Allen's study. 

Whitetails appear to be more dependent on 
drinking water than are mule deer (U.S. Department 
of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service 1973) and 
frequently drink from ponds, streams, springs, and 
reservoirs. As these water sources are commonly 
associated with the bottomland habitat whitetails 
prefer, water is seldom limiting for them. 



Antelope 

There are probably 13,000 to 20,000 antelope in 
the ES area (Table 2-12), primarily in the high 
plains and rolling plains landforms. The use of tim- 
bered breaks and mountainous areas by antelope 
is very limited. Antelope security is highest in rela- 
tively open areas where they can take full advan- 
tage of their highly developed sight and running 
ability. 

Antelope often coexist well with livestock appar- 
ently because their diet includes relatively little 
grass. However, competition between antelope and 
livestock for forbs can be significant (Pyrah 1978, 
personal communication; and Becker 1972). The 
pronghorn's diet during the summer is about 66 
percent forbs and 33 percent browse; grasses com- 
prise only about 1 percent (Grensten and Ryerson 
1973). In the fall, the pronghorn's diet is about 50 
percent browse and 50 percent forbs. In winter, 
browse species comprise almost all of the antelope 
diet. Winter survival is largely dependent on sup- 
plies of big sagebrush and silver sagebrush (Mar- 
tinka 1967). 

In some areas pronghorn densities are highest 
on well watered range (Sundstrom 1968). Yoakum 
(1977) recommends water distribution every three 
to four miles. However, the effect of water availabil- 



ity on antelope distribution in Montana is not well 
established. 

Concentration areas during severe winters are 
delineated and acreages tabulated on Map 2-8. 
The condition of wintering areas is often limiting for 
antelope populations. Throughout much of the ES 
area, livestock are summered on public lands and 
wintered on private and state lands. The wintering 
areas for livestock are often sagebrush areas 
needed by wintering antelope (Belt and Fergus 
Planning Units URA). Expanding agricultural devel- 
opment also limits antelope populations by reducing 
grass-shrubland habitat. The current trend of ante- 
lope populations within the ES area is generally 
stable with a few areas showing recent increases 
and at least one showing decreases (Fergus Plan- 
ning Unit URA and other URAs). 



Elk 



There are probably 2,500 to 3,000 elk that use 
the ES area, primarily in the mountains and river- 
breaks landforms (Table 2-12). Important elk popu- 
lations occur on the State Fish and Game Depart- 
ment's Judith River Game Range and other parts of 
the Little Belt Mountains, in the Highwood Moun- 
tains east of Great Falls, in the Judith Mountains 
northeast of Lewistown, and in various parts of the 
breaks surrounding and in the Charles M. Russell 
National Wildlife Refuge (see Map 2-9). As is the 
case with many wildlife species, many of the elk 
have home ranges that include areas within and 
outside the refuge. 

Although elk are native to the Missouri Breaks, 
they vanished from the area in the 1860s because 
of hunting and competition with livestock. They 
were reintroduced via transplants from Yellowstone 
National Park from 1935 to 1951. Populations are 
still expanding, but the rate of expansion is quite 
slow due to the combined effect of poaching and 
substantial legal harvest (Willow Creek Planning 
Unit URA). In some areas road development, such 
as that associated with timber harvesting and oil 
and gas exploration, is a current and future threat 
to elk expansion (South Bearpaw Planning Unit 
URA). The access roads and trails spawn human 
activity on a year-round basis and deny security for 
elk during periods of stress. Although the elk popu- 
lations in the breaks do not currently compete sig- 
nificantly with livestock for forage, the potential for 
such competition exists and is one of the reasons 
for landowner resistance to rapid expansion of the 
elk herds (Eichhorn 1978, personal communica- 
tion). 

The Judith River Game Range is the primary 
wintering area for approximately 1,000 head of elk. 



2-29 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Herds are kept within the carrying capacity by 
annual harvest. Most elk in the mountains landform 
summer at higher elevations and winter on the 
lower mountain foothills. Particularly in the High- 
wood Mountains area, landowners often complain 
that elk move to lower elevations and winter on 
private lands. The elk herd in the Judith Mountains 
numbers about 100 animals, its expansion being 
restricted by a lack of winter range in areas where 
landowners will tolerate the presence of elk. 

Most of the approximately 1,000 elk in the 
breaks area occur north of the river. However, year- 
long use occurs in the breaks in northeast Fergus 
County, and some winter use by elk of the breaks 
south of the Missouri from the Musselshell River to 
Seven Blackfoot Creek is probable but not docu- 
mented. Elk have been recently observed along 
Cow Creek and elsewhere in the South Bearpaw 
Planning Unit in southern Blaine County. Since the 
elk in the Missouri Breaks region generally use 
habitat on both sides of the Charles M. Russell 
National Wildlife Refuge, the condition of their 
range depends partly upon coordination between 
BLM and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Elk have recently been observed in the Little 
Rocky Mountains (Little Rockies URA). Desirable 
aspects of this area for elk habitat include the re- 
moteness due to the mountain character, integra- 
tion of timber and park tracts, and a variety of 
vegetation. Motorized vehicle travel is limited, and 
the timber provides ample cover. Elk also occur in 
the southwestern part of the UL Bend Planning Unit 
where the breaks extend into the planning unit and 
in the east part of that planning unit in the breaks 
and Larb Hills. 

South Valley County has two separate elk 
herds. To the southeast, 60 to 80 head overlap 
onto BLM lands from the Pines area of the Charles 
M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. To the south- 
west, 130 to 140 head inhabit the Harper Ridge 
area of the refuge and the Timber Creek, Square 
Creek, and Southerland Creek regions on BLM 
land. These two areas in south Valley County are 
important to elk because of the security their rough 
topography provides and because of the scattered 
verdant spots created by natural springs. Range 
conditions in these areas are exceptionally good; 
however, the populations have not increased 
beyond current levels, apparently because of 
poaching and other human harassment. 



(Eichhorn and Watts 1976). (See Figure 2-6.) In 
1972 and 1973, 30 bighorns were introduced into 
the Little Rocky Mountains. This herd has had 
some reproduction and seems to be holding its 
own. Winter feed is scarce, however, and the herd 
feeds on the hay stacks on the adjacent private 
lands. 

Bighorns introduced in the Missouri River 
Breaks of Fergus County from 1958 to 1961 in- 
creased for several years but suffered severe die- 
offs during the winters of 1972 and 1978 and now 
number only nine animals. Although their range 
originally included BLM land as shown on Map 2-9, 
it now appears to be restricted within the bound- 
aries of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife 
Refuge. Other attempted introductions within the 
ES area have failed. 

Bighorns use forbs, shrubs, and grasses during 
all seasons. They are vulnerable to competition 
from elk, deer, and livestock (Couey and Schallen- 
berger 1971). 



Wild Horses 

A band of approximately 30 wild or semi-wild 
horses occurs on and adjacent to the Ervin Ridge 
allotment (#6212) in the South Bearpaw Planning 
Unit (Map 2-9). The MFP states (RM-11) that the 
horses will be rounded up to determine whether 
they are truly wild or if they include branded individ- 
uals. The Ervin Ridge AMP states that the horses 
compete significantly with cattle and deer for avail- 
able forage. The MFP approves (WL-6) a study to 
document the extent of competition between the 
horses and wildlife on important habitat areas. 



Mountain Lions 

Although mountain lions roam throughout the 
mountains and riverbreaks landforms within the ES 
area, reports of mountain lion observations are very 
rare. Their far ranging habits and territorial behavior 
preclude dense populations. Intensive hunting (out- 
side of Montana) sometimes produces many more 
mountain lions than expected (Johnson and Couch 
1954); however, it is judged that less than 20 occur 
in the ES area. 



Furbearers 



Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep 

Introductions of bighorn sheep in the ES area 
have met with only limited success because of lim- 
ited winter habitat and competition with livestock 



The most important furbearer within the ES area 
in terms of numbers harvested is the muskrat which 
occurs in most stockwater ponds and natural wet- 
land habitats. Although data are not available, fox, 
coyote, and bobcat are probably the most impor- 



2-30 




LEGEND 



MULE DEER HABITAT TYPE 

J Concentration Areas During Severe Winters 
I High Value Year Long Habitat 
I General Distribution 
I Non Habitat 



Acres and Percent 
of Tola/ ES Area 

487,100(6%) 

377,800 (4%) 

7,467,800(88%) 

197,400(2%) 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 

67,000(2%) 

315,900(10%) 

2,616,700(87%) 

14,800 (.05%) 



UNITED STATES DEPAETMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



MULE DEER HABITAT 



MAP 2-6 




LEGEND 



WHITE-TAILED DEER HA BIT A T TYPE 

Concentration Areas During Severe Winters 
! I Year Long Habitat 

I Summer Habitat 

J Non Habitat 



Acres and Percent 
of Total ES Area 



72,800(1%) 
2,182,800(26%) 

76,200(1%) 
6,198,400(73%) 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 



300 (.01%) 

340,300(11%) 

500 (.02%) 

2,673,200(89%) 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEM E NT 

WHITE-TAILED 
DEER HABITAT 



MAP 2-7 




LEGEND 



ANTELOPE HABITAT TYPE 

Concentration Areas During Severe Winters 
I High Value Year Long Habitat 
I General Distribution 
J Non Habitat 



Acres and Percent 
of Total ES Area 



293,600(3%) 

19,800 (.2%) 

5,184,000(61%) 

3,032,800(36%) 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 

132,900(4%) 

19,300(1%) 

1,666,000(55%) 

1,196,200(40%) 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



ANTELOPE HABITAT 



MAP 2-8 




LEGEND 



ELK HABITAT TyPE 

I Concentration Areas During Severe Winters 

I Summer Habitat 

I Year Long Habitat 

1 Non-Habitat 

J BIGHORN SHEEP HABITAT 

1 WILD HORSE HABITAT 



Acres and Percent 
of Total ES Area 

68,300(1%) 

305,400(4%) 

438,800(5%) 

7,717,700(90%) 

28,100 

23,100 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 

500 (.02%) 

200 (.01%) 

251,200(8%) 

2,762,600(92%) 

25,000 

23,100 



,■ PRAIRIE DOG TOWNS 

»• RESERVOIRS WITH GOOSE ISLANDS 



UNITED STATES DEPAETMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 

ADDITIONAL 
WILDLIFE HABITATS 



SOURCE. Montana Departmenl ol Fish and Game 1974 

Habilat Maps, and BLM Planning System. URA Slep 3 

MAP 2-9 




Figure 2-6 Bighorn sheep. Attempts to re-establish bighorns in the ES area have had very limited success because 
of limited winter habitat and competition with livestock. Small populations currently exist in the Little 
Rocky Mountains and in the riverbreaks of Fergus County. 



2-31 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



tant furbearers in the ES area in terms of the value 
of the harvest. 

The wolverine, least weasel, and Canadian lynx 
have been identified by the Montana Department of 
Fish and Game as species of "special interest or 
concern" (Flath 1978), because they are rare, sen- 
sitive to environmental changes, on the periphery 
of their range, or controversial. The endange-ed 
black-footed ferret is discussed in the section on 
threatened or endangered species. Habitat areas, 
populations, and population trends have not been 
determined for furbearers within the ES area. 



Small Mammals 

A variety of small mammals occur within the ES 
area. Typical examples are the desert cottontail, 
masked shrew, and deer mouse. Several species 
known or suspected to occur within the ES area 
(Merriam shrew, dwarf shrew, preble shrew, long- 
legged bat, big-eared bat, meadow jumping mouse, 
and the black-tailed prairie dog) have been identi- 
fied by the State of Montana as being of "special 
interest or concern" (Flath 1978). Annotated lists of 
mammals occurring within the ES area are on file 
at the BLM district offices in Lewistown and Miles 
City. Information on population levels and trends for 
small mammals within the ES area is not available. 

There are 134 prairie dog towns ranging in size 
from 17 to 780 acres in the ES area (Map 2-9). The 
adverse impacts of prairie dogs on public lands 
have not been measured. However, reports and 
observations from South Phillips County indicate 
prairie dogs have contributed to significant declines 
in forage production and watershed stability. A Prai- 
rie Dog Habitat Management Plan has been drafted 
which outlines control measures to be considered 
for selected public lands in conjunction with a com- 
prehensive program for improving overall range re- 
sources. The plan will be coordinated with the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service and the Montana Depart- 
ment of Fish and Game. Management practices, 
including manipulation of livestock grazing and wa- 
tershed treatment projects, will complement prairie 
dog control. 

An interdisciplinary team will be established to 
examine public rangelands where prairie dog 
damage has been reported. Beginning in FY 1979, 
the team will inspect public lands in South Phillips 
County. Intensive pre-control inventories will be 
conducted at each dog town to determine the pres- 
ence of the black-footed ferret. The team will be 
responsible for providing data to support any deci- 
sion affecting prairie dog control. 



Birds 



Sharp-tailed Grouse 

Sharp-tailed grouse are the most abundant 
upland game bird in the ES area. Population esti- 
mates are not available; however, during 1976, ap- 
proximately 55,400 sharptails were harvested by 
hunters in the nine counties represented in the ES 
area. About 12,000 of these birds were harvested 
in Fergus County alone. Sharptails occur through- 
out the ES area, about 21 percent of which is 
considered high value habitat (Map 2-10). One hun- 
dred and thirty-three dancing grounds have been 
located within the ES area (Map 2-10). Many more 
undoubtedly exist. 

Sharptail habitat includes hills, benchlands, and 
other areas of rolling topography and should have a 
good stand of residual cover composed chiefly of 
grasses for roosting, feeding, and nesting. Dancing 
grounds are usually flat areas on elevated knolls or 
benches. The sites are nearly bare of vegetation, 
although brushy cover is near for feeding and 
escape. The nest site is usually within one-half to 
three-quarters of a mile from the dancing ground 
and has a protective cover of grasses or low 
shrubs. 

A major food source for sharptails in spring is 
rose hips. Other food utilized during this period in- 
cludes sage, corn, shoots (where available), and 
grasshoppers. Summer foods consist mainly of 
annual forbs and grasshoppers. Fall foods include 
rose hips, buffaloberries, sunflowers, plums, sumac, 
and grasshoppers. Winter foods resemble the fall 
foods except for the grasshoppers. Succulent foods 
and snow satisfy sharptail water requirements, al- 
though they may drink from water sources when 
readily available (Musselshell Planning Unit URA). 

Limiting factors for sharptails are intensive farm- 
ing and heavy grazing. However, they have been 
increasing significantly in recent years in Petroleum 
County and the eastern half of Fergus County. 
Good moisture conditions and reduced livestock 
numbers appear to be partly responsible. 

Studies in southwestern North Dakota have 
shown that over 90 percent of the nest sites were 
in residual vegetation over six inches high, and 70 
percent of brood locations were in vegetation over 
nine inches high (Kohn 1976). Habitat preferences 
in the ES area are probably similar. 



Sage Grouse 

Sage grouse occur on almost half of the ES 
area, 3 percent of which has been identified as 



2-32 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



crucial winter habitat (Map 2-11). They are closely 
associated with sagebrush, which provides many of 
their habitat requirements. 

Information on sage grouse population densities 
and trends in the ES area is not available. Howev- 
er, their distribution in Montana has remained 
stable since about 1941 (Martin and Pyrah 1971). 
About 23,000 sage grouse were harvested in 1976 
in the nine counties that are represented in the ES 
area. 

Although insects and forbs are important to 
sage grouse in the summer (June to August), they 
are less important in May and September; from 
October through April sage grouse live almost en- 
tirely on sage. Important summer food plants in- 
clude common dandelion, salsify, American vetch, 
prickly lettuce, alfalfa, curlycup gumweed, and 
fringed sagewort. Insects account for about 25 per- 
cent of the diet of juvenile sage grouse during the 
first six weeks. Juvenile grouse prefer areas with 
from 1 to 20 percent sagebrush canopy coverage 
and a diversity of forbs (Wallestad 1975). 

Sage grouse generally nest within two miles of 
strutting grounds in sagebrush with canopy cover- 
age from 20 to 30 percent, the preferred height of 
the sage being about 16 inches. During winter, 
sage grouse prefer areas with sage canopy cover- 
age of 20 percent or more and during periods of 
heavy snow, sage heights greater than 12 inches 
are necessary (Wallestad 1975). 

Sage grouse obtain moisture from succulent 
foods and snow. Use of free water by sage grouse 
in central Montana has not been documented. 



Pheasants and Hungarian Partridge 

These two introduced species are popular game 
birds that are closely associated with agricultural 
land. Population estimates for the ES area are not 
available. However, in 1976, hunters harvested 
33,700 pheasants and 36,600 Hungarian partridge 
from the nine counties represented in the ES area. 

Habitats for these species have not been delin- 
eated within the ES area. However, areas along 
drainages where brushy vegetation and croplands 
are interspersed are often good pheasant habitat. 
Pheasant populations appear to be decreasing in 
the ES area because of the loss of habitat due to 
intensified farming, land clearing, and the grazing of 
riparian vegetation (Weigand and Janson 1976 and 
Fergus Planning Unit URA). Exceptions may be Pe- 
troleum County where pheasant harvests have 
been increasing in recent years and the Willow 
Creek Planning Unit where the increasing growth of 
willows in the dike and water spreading systems in 



combination with an increase in grain crops on pri- 
vate land appears to be improving habitat condi- 
tions for pheasants. 

In addition to utilizing pheasant habitat, partridg- 
es use the drier farming sites that have reverted to 
weed cover types. Both partridge and pheasants 
utilize cereal grains and weed seeds heavily. 
Pheasants also eat snowberry, chokecherry, buffa- 
loberry, and wild rose. During the spring and 
summer, insects are important to both species, par- 
ticularly young birds. Neither species appear to re- 
quire open water but they both use it when availa- 
ble. 

Although pheasant populations are decreasing 
for the reasons mentioned above, Hungarian par- 
tridges probably are increasing slightly due to their 
relatively high adapatability (compared to other 
upland game birds) to certain agricultural develop- 
ments (Trueblood and Weigand 1971), and be- 
cause they apparently have lesser cover require- 
ments than do pheasants. 



Merriam's Turkey 

Turkeys occur in the Judith, Big Snowy, Little 
Snowy, Little Belt, and Little Rocky Mountains and 
portions of the riverbreaks landform (notably north- 
ern Fergus and Petroleum Counties) as well as 
other areas throughout the ES area where there is 
suitable habitat. Turkeys need trees for roosting 
and do best where deciduous trees and brush are 
adjacent to agricultural lands, particularly wheat 
fields. A variety of vegetation types and the result- 
ing edge effects apparently are essential elements 
of turkey habitat. Turkeys are seldom observed 
more than 100 yards from cover (Greene and Ellis 
1971). Turkeys utilize ponds, streams, and other 
sources of water whenever available and usually 
drink twice per day. 

There is probably a fairly stable turkey popula- 
tion of several thousand within the ES area; howev- 
er, reliable population data are not available. There 
appears to be denser populations of turkeys in the 
Snowy, Moccasin, and Judith Mountains than in the 
Missouri River Breaks. A general lack of sufficient 
deciduous shrub for winter habitat is the apparent 
limiting factor. Populations are probably stable. 
During fall and winter many turkeys move into the 
farmsteads and feedlots for food. 



Mountain Grouse 

Blue, ruffed, and spruce grouse occur within the 
ES area. There appear to be good populations of 
blue grouse in the Snowy, Big Belt, Little Belt, High- 
wood, Judith, Moccasin, and Little Rocky Moun- 



2-33 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



tains. Blue grouse are usually associated with 
Douglas fir throughout their range (Mussehl et al. 
1971). Ruffed grouse are generally abundant along 
the foothill drainages of the mountain ranges. 
Spruce grouse within the ES area are limited to the 
Little Belt Mountains (Mussehl et al. 1971). 

Grouse are generally ground nesters. Nest and 
brood security depends on the amount of ground 
cover available during the nesting season. Popula- 
tion information for mountain grouse in the ES area 
is not available; however, about 1 ,900 blue grouse, 
900 ruffed grouse, and 170 spruce grouse were 
harvested during 1976 in the nine counties repre- 
sented in the ES area. Generally, the distribution of 
these grouse has changed little in the last 25 years 
(Mussehl etal. 1971). 



Waterfowl 

A large variety of ducks, geese, and shorebirds 
use wetland habitats within the ES area for both 
nesting and migration stopovers. Common species 
include the mallard, pintail, gadwall, blue-winged 
teal, Canada goose, killdeer, and avocet. Species 
identified as being of "special interest or concern" 
by the Montana Department of Fish and Game 
(Flath 1978) are the piping plover, mountain plover, 
American golden plover, ruddy turnstone, knot, 
dunlin, short-billed dowitcher, semipalmated sand- 
piper, western sandpiper, sanderling, and black- 
necked stilt. The whooping crane is discussed 
below under threatened or endangered species. An 
annotated list of all birds occurring within the ES 
area is on file at the BLM district offices in Lewis- 
town and Miles City. 

Approximately 80,000 to 120,000 ducks (esti- 
mate extrapolated from Montana Department of 
Fish and Game 1965) are produced within the ES 
area annually in addition to several thousand 
geese. The approximately 1,000 stockwater reser- 
voirs on public land within the ES area contribute 
significantly to this production. Based on the ratio 
of public to private land, there may be four times 
this number of stockwater ponds on private lands 
within the ES area and these also supplement natu- 
ral wetland areas. As an aid toward waterfowl pro- 
duction, particularly goose nesting, about 240 is- 
lands have been constructed on 54 stockwater 
ponds on public lands in recent years (Map 2-9). 
After four years, about 57 percent of these islands 
are used by geese, and geese seldom use reser- 
voirs without islands (Eng, Jones, and Gjersing 
1978, in press). Particularly significant is the Little 
Bear Lake project east of War Horse Reservoir in 
the Petroleum Planning Unit. This project involves 
the construction of 80 islands at Little Bear Lake 



and a well that will enable water levels to be stabi- 
lized. 

Waterfowl populations within the ES area are 
increasing gradually. Reservoir construction on 
public lands in the ES area has been halted pend- 
ing completion of this environmental statement; 
however, reservoir construction on private land 
continues. The increase in habitat from reservoir 
construction on private lands is partially offset by 
wetland drainage for agricultural and other develop- 
ments in Fergus and Judith Basin Counties (Eich- 
horn 1978, personal communication). 



Raptors 

More than half of the raptors occurring in the 
ES area have been identified by the State of Mon- 
tana as species of "special interest or concern" 
(Flath 1978). Those so listed by the state include 
the goshawk, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk, 
ferruginous hawk, golden eagle, marsh hawk, 
osprey, gyrfalcon, prairie falcon, merlin, screech 
owl, snowy owl, pygmy owl, burrowing owl, long- 
eared owl, and saw-whet owl. The endangered bald 
eagle and peregrine falcon are also listed by the 
state and are discussed in the section on threat- 
ened or endangered species. The state is con- 
cerned about so many species within this group 
because of public interest in them and their vulner- 
ability to pollution and other environmental changes 
due to their position at the top of the food chain. 
An annotated list of all birds occurring within the ES 
area is on file at the BLM district offices in Lewis- 
town and Miles City. Information on population 
levels and trends for raptors within the ES area is 
not available. 



Other Non-Game Birds 

Although a large variety of non-game birds in- 
habit the ES area, little information is available on 
their distribution, numbers, or population trends. 
Several species occurring within the ES area 
(northern three-toed woodpecker, western bluebird, 
eastern bluebird, and dickcissel) have been identi- 
fied by the State of Montana as species of "special 
interest or concern" (Flath 1978). A complete an- 
notated list of the birds in the ES area is on file at 
the BLM district offices in Lewistown and Miles 
City. 

Two species that nest in sagebrush habitats, 
Brewer's sparrow and vesper sparrow, were studied 
by Best (1972) in southern Petroleum County. He 
noted that the vesper sparrow nested on the 
ground near sagebrush whereas the Brewer's spar- 
row nested in the sagebrush. The study analyzed 



2-34 




LEGEND 



□ 



SHARP- TAILED GROUSE HABITAT TYPE 
I High Value Habitat 

Medium Value Habitat 
I Low Value Habitat 
Non Habitat 
• Dancing Grounds 



Acres and Percent 
of Total ES Area 



1,768,800 (21%) 

2,149,000 (25%) 

3.707.100 (43%; 

906,700 (11%) 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 

926,600 (31%) 

787,100 (26%) 

1,014,300 (34° 

286,500 ( 9%) 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STAT EM ENT 

SHARP-TAILED 
GROUSE HABITAT 

SOURCE Montana Department of Fish ano Game 197J 
HabMat Maps amJ Blv p\i ■-■■ ■■-■ : i.-^"- u^-' S--e: 3 

MAP 2-10 




LEGEND 



SAGE GROUSE HABITAT TYPE 
I Crucial Winter Habitat 

I High Value Habitat 

I Medium Value Habitat 

I Low Value Habitat 

1 Non Habitat 



Strutting Grounds 



Acres and Percent 
of Total ES Area 

218,000(3%) 
1,661,700(19%) 

771,000(9%) 

1,351,600(16%) 

4,527, BOO (53%) 

Number in ES Area 
97 



Acres and Percent 
within AMPs 

147,000(5%) 

1,038,900(34%) 

261,700(9%) 

923,400(31%) 

643,400(21%) 

Number in AMPs 
68 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 

SAGE GROUSE 
HABITAT 



MAP 2-11 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



the impact on breeding populations of the two spe- 
cies of various degrees of sagebrush control by 
spraying. 

Reptiles and Amphibians 

There are no reptile or amphibian species of 
management significance within the ES area. The 
ecological significance of reptiles and amphibians is 
recognized, however, and several species within 
the ES area (plains hognose snake, milk snake, 
snapping turtle, western spiny softshell, and Dakota 
toad) have been identified by the State of Montana 
as species of "special interest or concern" (Flath 
1978). 

Amphibians and aquatic reptiles are subject to 
the same influences that degrade fish habitat. 
Where excessive siltation or pollution occurs, suffo- 
cation of eggs and clogging of gill filaments may 
result. A complete list of reptiles and amphibians in 
the ES area is on file at the BLM district offices in 
Lewistown and Miles City. Population estimates and 
trends for reptiles and amphibians in the ES area 
are not available. 



Fish 

The most important cold water fish on public 
lands in the ES area is the rainbow trout, which has 
been stocked in 29 stock water reservoirs. Brook 
trout were stocked in at least one of the reservoirs 
in the South Bearpaw Planning Unit. Cutthroat trout 
and grayling were stocked in Buffalo Wallow Reser- 
voir in the Petroleum Planning Unit in 1972 but 
have since died out. Rainbows have been stocked 
in this reservoir since 1973. 

Numerous streams in or derived from the moun- 
tainous areas in the Belt and Fergus Planning Units 
support populations of brown, rainbow, and brook 
trout. However, these are generally away from the 
proposed AMPs. Streams supporting cold water 
fisheries that could potentially be affected by the 
proposed AMPs are shown on Map 2-19 in the 
Recreation section. 

Lake trout, brown trout, and kokanee and possi- 
bly coho salmon occur in Fort Peck Reservoir in 
limited numbers. Rainbow trout have been intro- 
duced into the dredge cut ponds at Fort Peck and 
are in the tailrace below the dam. However, the 
reservoir and the portions of the Missouri River 
within the ES area are more suited to warm water 
species. Northern pike, channel catfish, ling, large- 
mouth bass, sauger, walleye, and paddlefish consti- 
tute a much more important fishery in this portion 
of the Missouri than do the cold water species. 



Twenty-nine reservoirs on public land within the 
ES area have been stocked with warm water game 
fish, primarily largemouth bass, but in some cases, 
northern pike, walleye, or sauger. 

Collar Gulch, a small stream in the Judith Moun- 
tains, is characterized by heavy deposits of iron 
hydroxide precipitate in its headwaters and milk- 
white deposits downstream. A possibly relict popu- 
lation of cutthroat inhabit approximately one mile of 
stream below this and then the stream goes under- 
ground. The complexity of this stream is unique, as 
is the population of cutthroat trout. 

The only trout streams north of the Missouri 
River within the ES area are in the Little Rocky 
Mountains. These are small streams with limited 
habitat that includes few pools over 12 inches in 
depth. The best habitat is in beaver ponds where 
the greatest populations of brook trout occur. Dis- 
turbance of stream channels by mining activities 
and road construction creates a serious problem for 
the fishery. Siltation from logging operations is also 
a concern here. 

The major problem associated with the condi- 
tion of stock water reservoirs in the ES area that 
have been planted with fish is siltation and the 
resultant reduction of pond basin size and depth. 
Siltation also affects such water quality factors as 
water temperature and oxygen content. In some 
areas, particularly portions of the Willow Creek 
Planning Unit, siltation is so rapid that short periods 
of excellent fishing probably will be overshadowed 
by continued deterioration of the sport fisheries. 
Many ponds are silted in in a decade or two, and 
even before that become so shallow that they are 
extremely vulnerable to winterkill. However, be- 
cause of the joint BLM/Montana Department of 
Fish and Game reservoir stocking program, the 
overall reservoir fisheries in the ES area are ex- 
pected to increase without the proposed action, 
even though individual fisheries will deteriorate. 

Three fish species that occur in the ES area 
(blue sucker, finescale dace, and shortnose gar) 
and one that is suspected to occur (creek chub) 
have been identified by the State of Montana as 
species of "special interest or concern" (Flath 
1978). An annotated list of the more than 50 spe- 
cies of fish that occur within the ES area is on file 
at the BLM district offices in Lewistown and Miles 
City. 

Invertebrates 

Of the thousands of species of invertebrates 
that occur on the ES area, those that are most 
likely to be of management significance are the 
grasshoppers. Grasshopper densities of 6 per 



2-35 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



square meter in grassland habitats are common 
and they can reach 30 or more per square meter 
when vegetative and climatic conditions are right 
(Nerney 1957). However, extrapolation of local esti- 
mates of grasshopper densities to large areas is 
risky at best (Anderson 1970). 

During population highs, grasshoppers compete 
significantly with livestock and wildlife for forage. 
They have perennially been rated among the 10 
most important pests in the United States. Grass- 
hoppers prefer areas with low growing weeds and 
relatively sparse vegetative cover (Nerney 1957, 
Anderson 1964). In the southwest, grasshopper 
populations appear to increase during years with 
normal or above normal precipitation (Nerney 
1957). There are no data relating precipitation and 
grasshopper abundance on the Great Plains. 



Threatened and Endangered Species 

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf 

The chance of this species occurring within the 
ES area is quite remote; however, wolves are occa- 
sionally seen in northern Valley County. The most 
recent, although unconfirmed, sighting occurred in 
the Frenchman Creek area 30 to 40 miles north of 
the ES area in 1975 (Flath 1978, personal commu- 
nication). 

Black-Footed Ferret 

There have been enough sightings and evi- 
dences of ferret activity within recent years to make 
their occurrence on the ES area probable. Recent 
evidence (see Petroleum Planning Unit URA) of the 
presence of ferrets in the ES area includes (1) a 
ferret trapped in the Little Belt Mountains near Har- 
lowton in 1942, (2) a ferret trapped near Billy Creek 
in Garfield County in 1945, (3) a survey of 27 prairie 
dog towns on the Charles M. Russell National Wild- 
life Refuge in 1967 that showed that seven of the 
towns had possible evidence of black-footed ferret 
occurrence, (4) a survey of 25 towns on the 
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in 1970 
that showed 9 towns with possible signs of ferret, 
(5) an unconfirmed sighting of a ferret by a rancher 
who was poisoning prairie dogs on private land 
within the Fergus Planning Unit in the summer of 
1976, and (6) a confirmed sighting of a black- 
footed ferret on private land in Carter County (out- 
side of the ES area) on September 13, 1977. 

Black-footed ferret habitat and prairie dog towns 
are synonymous (Snow 1972b). Although a com- 
plete survey has not been accomplished, 134 prai- 
rie dogs towns have been delineated within the ES 
area (Map 2-9). This map shows clusters or con- 
centrations of prairie dog towns in northeastern 



Garfield County, south central and southwest Phil- 
lips County, and near the southern border between 
Blaine and Chouteau Counties. If there are ferrets 
in the ES area, they are probably within these clus- 
ters. A complete survey of black-footed ferret habi- 
tat in the ES area (and all of eastern Montana) will 
begin in the fall of 1978. (See section on small 
mammals, above.) 

Peregrine Falcon 

Two subspecies of the peregrine falcon, the 
American peregrine falcon and the Arctic peregrine 
falcon, could be seen on the ES area (Snow 
1972a). However, the two species are nearly im- 
possible to distinguish in the field. The Arctic per- 
egrine falcon is the most numerous. It nests in 
northern Canada and Alaska and passes through 
Montana in migration. The American subspecies' 
breeding range historically includes the cliffs of the 
Missouri River Breaks and there have been some 
recent sightings. However, the Rocky Mountain/ 
Southwestern Peregrine Falcon Recovery Team 
has no evidence of current nesting activity by per- 
egrines in the ES area (Craig 1978, personal com- 
munication). 

Whooping Crane 

Although the whooping crane is occasionally ob- 
served in migration over the ES area, no part of the 
ES area can be considered whooping crane habitat. 

Northern Bald Eagle 

Probably 40 to 60 bald eagles spend the winter 
along the Missouri River within the ES area. Even 
more use parts of the ES area during spring migra- 
tion (March and April). Dead livestock and game 
are a common source of food for the eagles. In the 
spring, 30 to 40 eagles commonly feed on winter- 
killed fish (mostly carp) at War Horse Lake in the 
rolling plains landform about 18 miles from the ri- 
verbreaks in Petroleum County. 



PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC 
FEATURES 



Prehistoric Features 



Approximately 500 prehistoric sites have been 
documented in the ES area, including 250 from a 5 
percent sampling inventory drawn from each plan- 
ning unit and 160 from inventories along the Upper 
Missouri Wild and Scenic River. As many as 5,000 
or as few as 3,400 sites can be projected for the 
ES area. Approximately 40 percent of the presently 
known sites are undisturbed or in stable condition, 



2-36 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



but 60 percent are deteriorating due to erosion, 
livestock trampling, vandalism, or current land uses. 

Information on local prehistory comes from two 
sources. A sampling-type inventory was conducted 
over the ES area in three separate efforts (Siegel 
1977, 1978; Gregg 1978) to obtain information 
about the number, quality, and type of prehistoric 
features for purposes of prediction. Other, more 
scattered archaeological work has contributed sup- 
porting data (Davis 1975, Davis and Aaberg 1976, 
Secrist 1960, Dally 1952, Mallory 1963, Sorenson 
1975, Davis and Stallcop 1965, and District Office 
files). 

Evidence exists to document man's prehistoric 
occupation of most of the ES area throughout pre- 
history. Table 2-13 shows the number of features in 
each planning unit within the ES area that are iden- 
tified from each prehistoric cultural period. Because 
the artifacts identified or collected from the surface 
are not always sufficient proof of cultural period 
association, the greatest number of sites fall into 
the category "Prehistoric - Cultural Period Un- 
known." If these sites were excavated to recover 
subsurface material, many would be definitely tied 
to one or more of the three cultural periods. 

The local prehistory is divided into three general 
cultural periods (Mulloy 1958, Wedel 1961, Worm- 
ington and Forbis 1965). During all three cultural 
periods, the way of life was oriented towards hunt- 
ing game and collecting wild plant foods. The 
groups of people were quite small, had no perma- 
nent settlements, and possessed only a limited 
toolkit composed principally of stone, wood, and 
bone objects. (At least those objects most likely to 
be preserved in an archaeological site are formed 
from these materials). Because of these factors, 
most prehistoric sites in the plains are small and 
contain only limited numbers of artifacts and faunal 
or vegetable material used as food. Older sites are 
more likely to have been destroyed by erosion and 
natural deterioration of organic objects than youn- 
ger sites, which makes sites from the Early Prehis- 
toric Period the most rare and sites from the Late 
Prehistoric Period the most common. 

The hunting and gathering way of life limited the 
types of prehistoric sites that occur. Table 2-14 
shows the major types of sites present on the 
Northern Plains and the frequency of their discov- 
ery within the planning units of the ES area (based 
on the data available in the current archaeological 
inventory). Lithic scatters, which are the stone 
debris and stone tools discarded when tools were 
made or used, and tipi rings, which are circular 
stone features usually 4 to 8 meters in diameter 
and assumed to have been anchor stones for the 
conical skin tent or tipi of prehistoric peoples, make 
up the most common site types. The other site 



types are less common. Rock cairns and rock 
alignments are often associated with animal kill 
sites, as features used to channel herd animals 
toward a kill location. The exact function of rock 
cairns is difficult to determine where they stand 
alone and are not associated with other site types. 
Rock art refers to paintings or carvings executed 
on rock by prehistoric people. Rockshelters are 
listed in Table 2-14 as a separate site type because 
some artifacts and features made of perishable ma- 
terial are often preserved in this protected environ- 
ment, but not in open sites. The burial site category 
refers to human burials. Some site types are not 
represented in all planning units. Because only a 
small percentage of each planning unit has thus far 
been inventoried, a small number of each of the 
more rare site types will probably be found in the 
future. Typical site types are shown in Figure 2-7. 

The sampling-type inventory conducted on the 
ES area covered a small percentage of the area in 
each planning unit (Table 2-15). The resultant site 
density was quite low and that, combined with the 
low percentage of surface coverage, produced ar- 
chaeological data of limited predictive usefulness. 
The statistics derived from the inventory include 
site density per 640 acres, the expected number of 
sites in each planning unit, and range of site num- 
bers (or margin of error in the expected number of 
sites statistics) in each planning unit (Table 2-15). 
Because of the wide margin of error and low 
number of sites found, this level of precision in 
prediction precluded development of other useful 
information such as the correlation between envi- 
ronment and site numbers and types, or even the 
accurate prediction of number of sites in each site 
type per planning unit. (For further detail, see 
Canan 1977). 

Table 2-15 shows that a prediction of site num- 
bers in each planning unit that is 90 percent accu- 
rate produces an expected number with a large 
variance, which in turn means that the expected 
range of site numbers is also large. The sample 
indicates that there is a considerably larger number 
of sites in each planning unit than inventories have 
thus far produced. It also suggests that site density 
differs in the various planning units, and may be 
quite low in places, but medium in others. Only the 
McCone Planning Unit has data suggestive of a 
high site density. This apparently is related to how 
fit the land is for vegetative growth and diversity 
because the better vegetated land is more often in 
or scattered among privately owned land. Often the 
site density is higher here also, probably indicating 
greater numbers and diversity of the animals and 
plants depended on by prehistoric inhabitants for 
food. This has not yet been solidly established, 
however, because one cannot totally rely on the 
variable statistical results. All density and expected 



2-37 



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SOURCE: Leslie B. Davis, Department of Sociology, Montana State University, Bozeman (except (d), Soil Conservation Service). 



2-40 



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2-41 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



site numbers statistics should be viewed cautiously 
due to small size of the sample. 

In the South Bearpaw Planning Unit, the sample 
was environmentally stratified before inventory oc- 
curred. This planning unit contains extremely con- 
trasting landforms and vegetation communities. 
Four strata were identified: badlands, pine breaks, 
river/creek bottoms, and grasslands (Gregg 1978). 
Site density varied significantly across the four 
strata, ranging from 0.25 (badlands) to 1.25 (grass- 
lands) per 640 acres (Gregg 1978). This suggests 
that most sites in the northwest portion of the ES 
area are associated with the flatter, grassy portions 
of the land surface. Again, the small sample size 
dictates that these results must be viewed with 
caution. Also, the apparent correlation between en- 
vironment and site location cannot be extended to 
other portions of the ES area based on present 
information. 

The ES area thus contains (as a conservative 
estimate) 3,400 prehistoric sites, based on the 
average standard deviation from the expected site 
numbers of each planning unit. An optimistic esti- 
mate would be 5,000 sites, with a middle estimate 
of nearly 4,200 sites. Based on the parameters 
indicated by Tables 2-13 and 2-14, some sites 
should be associated with all known time periods in 
Plains prehistory. However, excavation would 
almost certainly be needed to identify cultural 
period association. As 79 percent of the discovered 
sites in each planning unit are lithic scatters or tipi 
rings, the great majority of sites yet to be found 
probably will also fall into these two categories. 

The condition and integrity of the known prehis- 
toric sites has only been subjectively described. No 
unified criteria have been used to measure the 
effect of factors of site destruction. Major process- 
es that lead to site destruction or deterioration in- 
clude erosion, livestock trampling, vandalism, and 
modern land use. Based on brief site descriptions 
from the sampling-type inventory as tabulated in 
Unit Resource Analyses, about 40 percent of the 
approximately 250 sites (from Table 2-15) are pres- 
ently in stable or undisturbed condition. However, 
this figure varies from 15 to 20 percent in the more 
populated western end of the ES area (where more 
vandalism occurs) to 50 to 60 percent along the 
north side of the Missouri River and in the eastern 
portions of the ES area, which are less densely 
populated. 

Site significance is measured by how much in- 
formation the sites can contribute to the knowledge 
of what form prehistoric life took in the area and 
what caused that pattern to change through time. 
Another factor in site significance is the potential of 
a site for development for public enjoyment and 
education. More than 80 percent of the sites and 



their content described above were discovered be- 
tween 1974 and 1977, and most of those sites 
have only been minimally described. Therefore, 
little synthesis of the material has been attempted, 
and importance of the sites remains essentially un- 
known. Relatively rare site types, such as animal 
kill and butchering sites, rock art, burials, and rock 
shelters, among others, should be considered of 
major importance because the information they 
contain is irreplaceable. Although the more 
common lithic scatters and tipi rings are equally as 
important to interpreting prehistory, most of the in- 
formation they contain probably will be repeated in 
similar sites. When it can be proved that the infor- 
mation is repeated, a sampling scheme should be 
used to make decisions about which sites are con- 
sidered significant enough to preserve or study fur- 
ther. Other factors will also have to be considered 
when assigning importance to individual sites, in- 
cluding the state of preservation of the site and its 
proximity to potential visitors. 



Historic Features 



The archaeological inventories conducted along 
the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River and 
which sampled each planning unit in the ES area 
located a small number of historic sites. Twenty- 
three sites were recorded, but most were not docu- 
mented by historical records. Twelve sites were ap- 
parently the remains of homestead era buildings 
and dugouts, and three sites included features re- 
lated to early sheepherding and ranching. Along the 
Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River, the small 
number of site types were more varied: one historic 
burial, the remains of an early twentieth century 
coal-fired electric power plant, two steamboat land- 
ings, three trading or military posts, and an example 
of historical graffiti. 

Although this list of systematically inventoried 
sites is small, enough historical records exist to 
outline the major human use of the ES area and to 
at least localize other major sites associated with 
the series of historic events. Major sources for the 
summary presented below are Malone and Roeder 
(1976), Burlingame and Toole (1957). Burlingame 
(1942), Toole (1959, 1972), and Gates (1968). 

The earliest recorded historical events in the 
area were explorations by Europeans or the United 
States at the end of the eighteenth and beginning 
of the nineteenth centuries. Presently known rec- 
ords do not show that either British or French ex- 
plorers entered the area, but the Lewis and Clark 
expedition of 1804-1806 did travel along the Mis- 
souri and camped several times within the ES area. 



2-42 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



The American fur trade expanded into the 
Upper Missouri country following the Lewis and 
Clark expedition. The fur trade flourished until the 
1860s. Features associated with the actual capture 
and processing of the animals would now be rare, 
but the centers of the commerce, namely forts and 
posts, may still exist as ruins or concentrations of 
historic artifacts. Major fur trade posts within the ES 
area were all on the Missouri River and include Fort 
Piegan, at the mouth of the Marias River; Fort 
McKenzie, six miles above the mouth of the Marias 
River; Fort Chardon, at the mouth of the Judith 
River; Fort Benton, at the site of the present town; 
Fort Dauphin, at the mouth of the Milk River; Fort 
LaBarge, adjacent to Fort Benton; and Fort Galpin, 
12 miles above the mouth of the Milk River (Burlin- 
game 1942). 

By the 1860s, gold and silver had been discov- 
ered in western Montana. The fur trade was declin- 
ing, but the need for transportation to the gold 
fields continued to add to historic activity in the ES 
area. The first steamboat reached Fort Benton in 
1859, and the head of navigation on the Missouri 
became a staging location for the travel of people 
and the shipping of goods to and from the gold 
fields. The use of the Missouri as a major transpor- 
tation route brought more people into certain areas 
along the river, downstream from Fort Benton. 
These include steamboat landings, which at times 
were discharge points for passengers and freight at 
times of low water, and woodhawkers' locations, 
where fuel was provided to the passing steam- 
boats. The major steamboat landings are Rowe's 
Landing, 12 miles downstream from Fort Benton; 
Ophir Landing, at the mouth of the Marias River; 
Coal Banks Landing, 20 miles downstream from the 
mouth of the Marias River; Eagle Creek, 33 miles 
downstream from the mouth of the Marias River; 
Judith Landing and Fort Claggett, at the mouth of 
the Judith River; Dauphin Rapids, 15 miles down- 
stream from the mouth of the Judith River; and 
Cow Island, near the mouth of Cow Creek. The 
woodhawkers locations are more difficult to locate 
exactly, because often they were temporary, de- 
pending on the seasonal enterprise of a single indi- 
vidual. They would be more likely found through 
archaeological inventory than from historic records. 

Effects of this transportation boom resulted in 
trails which traversed portions of the ES area. From 
the Missouri River landings, particularly from Cow 
Island upstream, freight was off-loaded and carried 
overland to Fort Benton when water levels did not 
permit further upstream navigation. Although the 
trails have not been exactly located, they apparent- 
ly were along the north side of the Missouri. Traces 
of the trails or historic artifacts could be discovered 
by archaeological inventories, although none have 
been to date. During a brief period (1866-1869), 



two locations attempted to replace Fort Benton as 
the major shipping point for overland freight. One, 
at the mouth of the Musselshell River, was essen- 
tially unsuccessful, but a second location about 25 
miles downstream did operate as a shipping point 
for a time. The river port was called Carroll, and 
from it the Carroll Trail was routed to Fort Logan 
(near White Sulphur Springs) and Helena. The trail 
crossed the ES area in the Fergus Planning Unit, 
passing near present-day Lewistown and leaving 
the area near Judith Gap. 

Because the population from the established 
states was pushing west to mine for gold, and to 
carry on transportation and commerce, it increas- 
ingly came into conflict with the native American 
Indian population. Thus, the period from the discov- 
ery of gold in Montana (early 1860s) to the late 
1880s produced United States military action in 
Montana, and also left historic features in the ES 
area. These include camps, posts, forts, and battle 
sites. The three major events producing conflicts 
with Indians were the Blackfeet War of 1869-70; 
the attempted Nez Perce flight to Canada under the 
leadership of Chief Joseph (1877); and pursuit of 
remnants of the Sioux Indians after the Battle of 
the Little Bighorn (1876-77). Military posts within 
the ES area include Camp Cooke, near the conflu- 
ence of the Judith and Missouri Rivers; Camp Otis, 
at Coal Banks Landing; Fort Benton, at the' present 
town of Fort Benton; Cow Island, on the Missouri 
River near the mouth of Cow Creek; and Fort Ma- 
ginnis, 20 miles northeast of Lewistown (Burlin- 
game 1942). 

In the late 1880s, the Great Northern and North- 
ern Pacific Railroads were built through Montana. 
Both roads bypassed the Missouri River in north- 
central Montana, and thus diverted the mainstream 
of historic activity away from the ES area. Between 
1900 and 1925, the Great Northern built feeder 
lines and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and 
Pacific (the Milwaukee Road) also built into a por- 
tion of the ES area, principally in the Lewistown 
area, but also through the western portion of the 
ES area south of the Missouri River, and as far 
north as Winifred and east to Winnett. Much aban- 
doned trackage and the remains of structures and 
construction camps may still exist. 

Except for some isolated examples discussed 
below, the ES area was settled very slowly and 
remains sparsely populated even today. Following 
the cessation of Indian problems and the annihila- 
tion of the great buffalo herds, cattle and sheep 
ranchers moved into north-central Montana. The 
initial operations were large, with thousands of 
head of livestock and few ranch headquarters. After 
the disastrous winter of 1886-87 many operations 
contracted, centering around the more watered val- 



2-43 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



leys where hay could be raised to provide supple- 
mental feed in the winter. Most of the ranch head- 
quarters of this era located in the most attractive 
areas for ranching, and today are in private land. 
Major features located on public land are likely to 
be more ephemeral corrals, sheepsheds, line 
camps, and sheepherders' stone piles. These fea- 
tures are not well documented and are more likely 
to be discovered by systematic ground inventory 
(see opening paragraph of this section) than by 
record searches. 

Although gold and silver mining was important 
historically further west in Montana during the three 
decades after 1860, it did not touch the ES area 
until after 1880 except marginally from transporta- 
tion along the Missouri River. After 1880, however, 
gold and silver were mined at several places in the 
ES area and created several mine boom towns, 
lasting in some places until about 1915. Most of the 
old mining camps are not total ghost towns. They 
still have a few residents today, although many 
historic buildings and features remain. 

Changes in the Homestead Act and railroad pro- 
motion helped create the last major influx of people 
into the ES area. With the promise of dry farming 
techniques, many people took up 160-, 320-, or 
640-acre homesteads in the ES area between 1910 
and 1925. Because the Homestead Act required it, 
domiciles and outbuildings were put up on most 
homesteads. However, because the amount of cap- 
ital commanded by most homesteaders was small, 
many of the buildings were of sod or were tarpaper 
shacks (Figure 2-8). Some, however, were of log 
construction. The early promise of dry farming did 
not prove true when drought came and combined 
with falling agricultural prices in the late teens. 
Later, with the nationwide depression of the 1 930s, 
many homesteads were abandoned. In 1937, the 
Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act was passed to 
provide for federal repurchase of some homestead- 
ed land. Some historic features from the home- 
stead era may be preserved throughout the public 
lands. Lands shown as public domain may have 
been entered but not deeded, while lands acquired 
under the Bankhead-Jones Act were definitely once 
in private ownership. The archaeological inventory 
mentioned in the opening paragraph of this section 
located what are apparently homestead features. 
The best lands, however, were kept in private own- 
ership, so many historic features of the homestead 
era are not on public land. 



National Register of Historic Places 



The most current annual compilation of sites 
which are either listed on or have been determined 



eligible for the National Register of Historic Places 
was consulted (Federal Register, Volume 43, 
Number 26, Tuesday, February 7, 1978). A total of 
seven sites in the ES area were in this status as of 
the above date. They include the Lewis and Clark 
Camp at Slaughter River, 40 miles south of Big 
Sandy on the Missouri River (Chouteau County); 
Fort Benton, at the present town of Fort Benton 
(Chouteau County); Fort Benton Historic District, at 
the present town of Fort Benton (Chouteau 
County); the Grand Union Hotel at Fort Benton 
(Chouteau County); Citadel Rock, east of Fort 
Benton (Chouteau County); the Judith Landing His- 
toric District, on the Missouri River at the mouth of 
the Judith River (Chouteau and Fergus Counties); 
and the Lewis and Clark Camp of May 24, 1805, on 
the Missouri River, north of Lewistown (Fergus 
County). Most of the ES area counties had no listed 
sites, but some sites within ES counties were not 
within the ES area boundaries, and thus were not 
listed. 



VISUAL RESOURCES 



Visual resources are the visual features of land, 
water surface, vegetation, and structures. 

The inventory of visual resource values consid- 
ers scenery quality, visual sensitivity, visual zones, 
and visual resource management classes. (See Ap- 
pendix 8 for a detailed explanation.) 



Scenery Quality 



Scenery quality ratings are based on the prem- 
ise that all landscapes have value, but those with 
the most interest, variety, harmony, and contrast 
have the highest scenery quality. 

The scenery in the ES area was broken into 
scenery units as shown on Map 2-12. The scenery 
quality for each unit was rated as A (excellent), B 
(good), or C (average) (see Appendix 8). Class C 
landscapes are the most common, class A land- 
scapes are the most outstanding, and class B land- 
scapes are in-between. Class A landscapes in the 
ES area are small in acreage, but it is this rarity or 
uniqueness that, in part, makes them outstanding. 

The rolling plains comprise nearly 54 percent of 
the ES area. The predominant features are the flat 
to rolling hills stretching in some areas from horizon 
to horizon. In most places, this landform type was 
rated as "C" (average) in visual quality. In the west- 
ern portion of the ES area, mountains and buttes 



2-44 




■ 








Figure 2-8 Homesteaders' buildings on the northern plains of Montana, probably before 1915. Note that two of 
these scenes show that housing was insubstantial. Such buildings probably have not survived to the 
present. A more substantial "soddy" is shown in the third scene. 

SOURCE: Montana Historical Society. 



2-45 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



provide diversity and orientation to the observer. 
Creeks, reservoirs, and lakes scattered throughout 
the rolling plains enhance local scenic values. Oc- 
casional farmsteads and ranch houses generally do 
not degrade the rolling plains scene and are usually 
considered to be quite picturesque on the rolling 
plains landscape. 

Visual intrusions created by existing grazing 
practices are evident in the rolling plains landscape. 
Existing range improvements and fenceline con- 
trasts are the most noticeable intrusions. 

The rolling plains include grass/sagebrush ran- 
gelands and scattered croplands with fine to 
medium visual textures (see glossary). Croplands 
create bold rectilinear patterns which sometimes 
distract from the natural landscape. Riparian vege- 
tation found along most wet drainages, creek bot- 
toms, and river corridors provide strong linear con- 
trasts and adds to the scenic quality. Intrusions 
include roads, fences, power lines, and abandoned 
farm machinery. 

Colors range from greens and golden browns in 
spring and summer, to golds and brown in fall and 
early winter. Winter snows normally blanket the roll- 
ing plains in white providing stark contrasts. 

A majority of the high plains landscape falls 
within the "C" scenic category. This landform 
covers about 19 percent of the ES area and is 
generally located on the approaches to the moun- 
tains in the southwest corner of the ES area and in 
the foothills of the Little Rockies. The predominant 
features are sloping hills dissected by numerous 
dendritic (see glossary) drainages. The background 
scene is dominated by mountains which range in 
height from 4,000 to 8,000 feet. Numerous creeks 
and streams lined with riparian vegetation stretch 
toward the rolling plains providing interesting linear 
contrasts. 

Ranch houses and farmsteads scattered 
throughout the area generally do not detract from 
the scene. Intrusions include buildings, roads, 
fences, power lines, and abandoned farm machin- 
ery. These intrusions are not so extensive as to 
degrade the visual scene significantly. 

The high plains are dominated by a grassland/ 
sagebrush vegetative complex with fine to medium 
visual textures. Numerous cropland areas provide 
bold linear patterns which differ from the natural 
lines of the landscape. 

Colors range from greens and golden browns in 
spring and summer, to shades of golds and browns 
accentuated by the turning aspens in the fall and 
early winter. Snows cover the area in the winter 
providing extreme black and white contrasts. 



An outstanding natural feature located within the 
high plains is Square Butte. This "A" rated scenery 
unit stands 1 ,700 feet above the surrounding plains 
and is a major landmark in the region. Gothic-look- 
ing rock spires near the base of the butte greatly 
enhance the scenic quality of the site. 

Mountains comprise about 10 percent of the ES 
area and are generally concentrated in the south- 
west portion with the exception of the Little Rock- 
ies. A majority of the mountains are in the "A" 
(excellent) scenery category. Steep slopes and di- 
versity in the major landscape elements of line, 
form, color, and texture are characteristic. The 
mountains include the Little Belt Mountains (7,000 
feet), the Highwood Mountains (7,000 feet), the Big 
and Little Snowy Mountains (7,000 feet), the North 
and South Moccasin Mountains (5,000 feet), the 
Judith Mountains (6,000 feet), and the Little Rock- 
ies (5,000 feet). Other than fenceline contrasts, 
visual intrusions relating to livestock grazing on 
public lands are minimal. 

The mountain landscapes contain several land- 
form features ranging from steep walled rocky can- 
yons to high alpine meadows. The mountain slopes 
are generally forested with ponderosa pine or 
Douglas fir. Alpine meadows scattered throughout 
the mountain areas provide variety in the land- 
scape. 

Intrusions in the mountainous areas include 
roads and surface disturbances associated with 
past timber harvests and mining activities. These 
intrusions are extensive in the Little Rockies, Judith 
Mountains, and North and South Moccasins where 
mining activities were intense. Colors range from 
dark greens, browns, and golds in spring, summer, 
and fall; to bold contrasts caused by snow cover in 
winter. Colors are derived from both rock outcrops 
and vegetation. Visual textures range from fine to 
coarse and provide diverse scenic values. 

The riverbreaks landscape contains diverse 
landforms and vegetation ranging from highly 
eroded badlands topography with sparse vegeta- 
tion, to steep sandstone cliffs and rock spires, to a 
rolling well developed flood plain topography with 
grassland/timber plant associations. This landform 
comprises 17 percent of the ES area and generally 
falls in the "A" (excellent) and "B" (good) scenery 
categories. A majority of the "A" areas are located 
close to the Missouri River and its major tributaries. 

Intrusions include roads, fences, and power 
lines, but are limited in number. Occasional farm- 
steads and ranch houses are scattered throughout 
the area. A few cropland areas present distracting 
rectilinear contrasts to the basically naturalistic 
landscape. Existing range improvement projects 
and fenceline contrasts detract from the scenic 



2-46 




LEGEND 

SCENERY QUALITY CLASSES 

1 

I Excellent Scenery Quality (Class A) 

I Good Scenery Quality (Class B) 

Average Scenery Quality (Class C) 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



SCENERY QUALITY 



SOURCE BLM Planning System. URA Step 3 



MAP 2-12 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



quality of the area. Rock outcroppings and cliffs 
along the Missouri River range in color from white 
to reddish brown. River bottom areas present green 
to golden brown colors in spring and summer, and 
brown and gold colors in fall. The badlands vegeta- 
tion and soils possess a wide variety of colors 
ranging from greens and browns in spring and 
summer to browns and golds in fall. Winter snows 
present stark black and white contrasts, especially 
in timbered areas. Fine to coarse visual textures 
are represented in this landform. 



Visual Sensitivity 



Visual sensitivity levels indicate the relative im- 
portance of people's responses to the visual envi- 
ronment. For example, areas near roads and towns 
are seen more often than those in remote inacces- 
sible areas and are consequently more sensitive. 
Areas are rated for visual sensitivity as high, 
medium, or low. Criteria for these ratings are de- 
scribed in Appendix 8. 



Visual Zones 



The visual zones are the areas which can be 
seen from major roadways or use areas and are 
identified as foreground-middleground, background, 
or seldom seen zones. The foreground-middle- 
ground zone is visible to a distance of three to five 
miles. Background is seen from five to fifteen miles. 
The seldom seen zone is the area beyond the 
fifteen mile background zone or not visible from any 
major roadway or use area. In relative importance, 
the foreground-middleground is the most important, 
the background is moderately important, and the 
seldom seen zone is the least important. 



Visual Resource Management Classes 



Visual resource management classes (Map 2- 
13) represent the overall existing quality of the en- 
vironment. They describe the degree of alteration 
that idealistically could be allowed within a charac- 
teristic landscape considering only the visual as- 
pects of the environment (see Appendix 8). Visual 
resource management classes are developed 
through analysis of the existing scenery quality 
classes, existing visual sensitivity levels, and exist- 
ing visual zones. The following is a discussion of 
the five VRM classes that could exist in an area. 



Class I areas (preservation) provide for natural 
ecological changes only. This class includes primi- 
tive areas, some natural areas, some wild and 
scenic rivers, and other similar sites where land- 
scape modification activities should be restricted. 

Class II (retention of the landscape character) 
includes areas where changes in any of the basic 
elements (form, line, color, or texture) caused by a 
management activity should not be evident in the 
characteristic landscape. 

Class III (partial retention of the landscape char- 
acter) includes areas where changes in the basic 
elements (form, line, color, or texture) caused by a 
management activity may be evident in the charac- 
teristic landscape. However, the changes should 
remain subordinate to the visual strength of the 
existing character. 

Class IV (modification of the landscape charac- 
ter) includes areas where changes may subordinate 
the original composition and character, but should 
reflect what could be a natural occurrence within 
the characteristic landscape. 

Class V (rehabilitation or enhancement of the 
landscape character) includes areas where change 
is needed. This class applies to areas where the 
landscape character has been so disturbed that 
rehabilitation is needed. This class would apply to 
areas where the quality class has been reduced 
because of unacceptable intrusions. It should be 
considered an interim short-term classification until 
one of the other classes can be reached through 
rehabilitation or enhancement. 

Class I zones in the ES area include Square 
Butte Natural Area and the segments of the Upper 
Missouri Wild and Scenic River designated as 
"wild." These Class I areas include both existing 
and proposed AMPs. Class II zones are situated 
along the major creeks and rivers and in all the 
major mountain ranges in the ES area. Those seg- 
ments of the Missouri River designated as "scenic" 
or "recreational" are also Class II zones. Class III 
zones lie primarily within the visual corridors of 
major highways. Most Class IV zones in the ES 
area are located outside the highway visual corridor 
and in seldom seen areas. No Class V zones have 
been identified. 

Visibility is an important factor to those who 
participate in outdoor activities and is crucial to 
maintaining large and open panoramic views. Re- 
duction in visibility is one of the most noticeable 
effects of a deterioration in air quality. No data on 
visibility is available for the ES area, but horizontal 
visibility is generally considered to be good. Excep- 
tions occur during periods of high winds resulting in 
dust associated with agricultural practices, high hu- 



2-47 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



midity, or during pollen production times when sus- 
pended particles produce hazy conditions. 

If the proposed action is not implemented, the 
existing visual environment is not expected to 
change substantially from the current natural and 
rural landscape. 



RECREATION 



Public lands comprise approximately 26 percent 
of the ES area. They provide a variety of dispersed 
and site oriented recreational opportunities encom- 
passing a wide range of activities. 

Participation in specific recreational activities on 
the public lands varies with the season of the year. 
Hunting dominates the scene in fall; cross-country 
skiing and snowmobiling occur during the winter. 
Springtime recreation includes fishing, sightseeing, 
and photography. Sightseeing, fishing, floatboating, 
picnicking, and camping dominate recreation during 
the summer months. Overall, the public lands in the 
ES area support some type of recreational activity 
during all times of the year with the heaviest use 
occurring during fall hunting seasons. 

The common unit for calculating recreation use 
is the man/day, which is defined as one person 
using the resource for some portion of a 24 hour 
day (Montana Department of Fish and Game 1978). 



Hunting 



Hunting is one of the major recreational oppor- 
tunities provided by the public lands in the ES area 
(Figure 2-9). Huntable populations of big game, 
small game, upland game, waterfowl, and several 
non-game species reside in the area. More than 
2.46 million hunter days were provided to license 
holders in 1975 and 2.85 million hunter days are 
projected for 1980 (Montana Department of Fish 
and Game 1978). 

With the exception of mule deer which require 
special management beginning in 1976 (buck-only 
season), populations of all major huntable wildlife 
species in the ES area are either stable or on the 
increase (Montana Department of Fish and Game 
1978). 

A summary of hunting use of the 1976-77 
season is displayed in Tables 2-16 through 2-18. 
Because some Montana Fish and Game hunting 
districts and state counties do not correspond to 



the ES area boundary, precise use estimates are 
not possible. 

When comparing hunter days in one district to 
another, it is important to understand that an equal 
number of hunter days does not imply equal hunt- 
ing quality or opportunities. Total hunter days 
depend on length of season, effort (number days/ 
animal harvested), proximity to population centers, 
and supply (number of harvestable animals). Hunter 
days is an indication of actual use, not necessarily 
of hunting quality. 

Table 2-19 portrays the percentage of the total 
state hunter days (for each wildlife type) provided 
by the ES area. As shown by the table, the ES area 
supports a substantial percentage of the statewide 
antelope and upland game hunting use. For com- 
parative purposes, the entire ES area comprises 9 
percent of the total state acreage. 

Table 2-20 describes hunting use within the ES 
area by wildlife type. Deer and elk hunting account 
for approximately 50 percent of the total hunter 
days recorded. 



Big Game 

Major big game species found in the ES area 
include deer (white-tailed and mule), elk, antelope, 
and black bear. Hunting opportunities exist for both 
archery and firearm enthusiasts. A summary of big 
game hunting use for the 1976-77 season is dis- 
played in Table 2-16. 

The ES area lies within Montana Department of 
Fish and Game regions 4, 6, and 7 (see Map 2-14). 
Percentage estimates of habitat on public lands 
(includes state and federal) (see Table 2-21) in the 
ES area were made using data from these three 
regions. No further breakdown in data was possi- 
ble. 

Maps 2-15 and 2-16 illustrate by hunting district 
where the greatest amount of big game hunting use 
occurs within the ES area. 



Upland Game 

Upland bird hunting is a popular sport in the ES 
area. Approximately 24 percent of the nearly 
360,000 upland game hunter days recorded for the 
state in 1976 were provided by the nine counties 
which encompass the ES area (Montana Fish and 
Game Harvest Data 1 976). 

Major native species include blue, ruffed, and 
Franklin grouse found primarily in the mountainous 
or forested areas and sharp-tailed and sage grouse 
both found in prairie habitats. Mountain grouse 



2-48 




LEGEND 

VISUAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CLASSES 



CLASS / (Preservation)- Areas which, by law, have been formally 
designated as a primitive area; natural area; some portions ot 
wild and scenic rivers; and other similar sites where landscape 
modification activities should be restricted. 



■ CLASS II (Retention)- Landscapes with Class A scenery quality, 
or Class B scenery quality in the foreground-middleground zone 



L_J 



with high visual sensitivity. 



□ 



C/ass /// (Partial Retention)- Landscapes with Class B scenery 
quality and high visual sensitivity in the background visual 
zone, or with Class B scenery quality and medium visual 
sensitivity in the foreground-middleground visual zone or with 
Class C scenery of high visual sensitivity in the foreground- 
middleground zone. 

Class IV (Modification)- Landscapes with Class B scenery 
quality and high visual sensitivity in the seldom seen visual 
zone, or with Class B scenery quality and medium or low visual 
sensitivity in the background or seldom seen zones, or with 
Class C scenery quality (except with high sensitivity In the 
foreground-middleground zone.) 






UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 

VISUAL RESOURCE 

MANAGEMENT 

CLASSES 

SOURCE: BLM Planning System. UR A Step3 

MAP 2-13 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



comprise 33 percent of the total upland game bird 
harvest in the state and prairie grouse 36 percent. 

Introduced upland game birds comprise the re- 
mainder of the harvest. These birds occupy margin- 
al habitats adjacent to and within agricultural areas 
supporting low to high (Fergus County) densities of 
birds and provide fair to excellent hunting opportu- 
nities (Montana Department of Fish and Game 
1978). These species include ring-necked pheasant 
and Hungarian (grey) partridge. 

Map 2-17 illustrates by county where the great- 
est amount of upland bird hunting use occurs within 
the ES area. According to Montana Fish and Game 
projections, the statewide supply of harvestable 
upland game birds exceeds current and anticipated 
hunting demands. 



Merriam's Turkey 

Although not a major game species, turkeys 
provided over 6,000 hunter days of use for over 
2,000 turkey hunters in the state in 1976. Turkeys 
are found in the Missouri breaks and the Judiths, 
Moccasins, Little Rockies, and Snowy Mountains. 
The statewide harvestable supply exceeds current 
demands, but significant segments of the turkey 
habitat are on private land, and the availability of 
part of the harvestable supply is limited (Montana 
Department of Fish and Game 1978). 



10). Based on a statewide recreation survey con- 
ducted by the State of Montana in 1976-77, nearly 
18.5 percent of the people sampled fished in the 
nine counties that comprise the ES area. Several 
species of fish exist including both warm water and 
cold water varieties. The majority of the fishing use 
in the area occurs on a few large streams and 
lakes (see Table 2-22), but construction of numer- 
ous reservoirs by the Bureau of Land Management 
for livestock utilization has provided additional fish- 
ing opportunities. Selected reservoirs, if found suit- 
able, are stocked with trout, bass, perch, walleye, 
and northern pike. 

A large number of the high quality public fishing 
reservoirs are located north of the Missouri River in 
the southern portions of Blaine, Phillips, and Valley 
Counties (see Map 2-19). Although little use data 
have been collected in these areas, it is suspected 
that substantial fishing pressure occurs on these 
reservoirs. 

Increases in demand for both stream and lake 
fishing of cold water trout species in the ES region 
is quickly approaching harvestable supplies. Ac- 
cording to the Montana Department of Fish and 
Game (1978), the overriding reason for this is loss 
of habitat as a result of intensive land use and 
development practices near trout fisheries. Trout 
are extremely sensitive to changes in their habitats 
and will require more intensive management to 
insure future harvestable populations. 



Waterfowl 

The ES area is situated on the central flyway 
and supports several species of ducks and geese. 
About 30 percent of the Montana duck harvest and 
37 percent of the goose harvest comes from this 
flyway (Montana Department of Fish and Game 
1978). 

In 1976, the nine counties encompassing the ES 
area provided over 30,000 hunter days of waterfowl 
hunting use or 14 percent of the state total (Mon- 
tana Fish and Game Harvest Data 1976). Increases 
in waterfowl hunting demand are expected but the 
current overall supply of harvestable ducks and 
geese exceeds current and anticipated hunting 
demand (Montana Department of Fish and Game 
1978). Map 2-18 illustrates by county where the 
greatest amount of waterfowl hunting use occurs 
within the ES area. 



Fishing 



Fishing is a major recreational opportunity pro- 
vided by the public lands in the ES area (Figure 2- 



Sightseeing 



Sightseeing and driving or walking for pleasure 
account for nearly 40 percent of the total time 
spent on leisure recreation activities in the state of 
Montana (Montana Department of Fish and Game 
1978). Although sightseeing is often associated 
with some other activity such as camping, hunting, 
or fishing, it is nonetheless an important recreation- 
al pursuit. 

The ES area provides outstanding sightseeing 
opportunities, some very unique to this region. Driv- 
ing for pleasure, the major sightseeing activity, 
allows the recreationist to view the varied scenic 
resources from the many roads and trails which 
exist in the area. However, some of the most spec- 
tacular scenery, the Missouri River Breaks, is nearly 
inaccessible by automobile. In this instance, river 
floating becomes the major mode of transportation. 
The Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River and por- 
tions of the Judith River provide excellent sightsee- 
ing opportunities. 

Recent surveys indicate nonconsumptive uses 
of wildlife in Montana are of major importance. 



2-49 




Figure 2-9 Sage grouse hunting 



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2-52 



County 

Chouteau 

Ducks 
Geese 

Fergus 

Ducks 
Geese 

Judith Basin 
Ducks 
Geese 

Petroleum 
Ducks 
Geese 

Blaine 

Ducks 
Geese 

McCone 

Ducks 
Geese 

Phillips 

Ducks 
Geese 

Valley 

Ducks 
Geese 

Garfield 

Ducks 
Geese 



TABLE 2- 


-18 




1976 WATERFOWL 


HUNTING 




Number 




Total 


Hunters 




Hunter Days 


453 




2836 


387 




1935 


412 




2579 


181 




905 


90 




563 


379 




1895 


98 




614 


272 




1360 


247 




1546 


206 




1030 


206 




1290 


49 




245 


667 




4175 


758 




3790 


610 




3819 


272 




1360 


49 




307 


32 




160 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish & Game, 1976 Waterfowl Harvest. 



2-53 



TABLE 2-19 
PERCENT OF STATEWIDE HUNTER DAYS ATTRIBUTABLE TO ES AREA 



Wildlife Type 
Big Game 

1/ 



1/ 

Deer — 



Elk 



Antelope 



1/ 



Black Bear — 

2/ 
Upland Game — 



Waterfowl 



2/ 



Percent of Total State 
Hunter Days in ES Area 



13% 
6% 

27% 
2% 

24% 

14% 



Percent Total State Hunter Days 
in ES Area for Above Species 



13% 



1/ 



Percentage estimates based on hunter days for hunting districts in 
ES area. Districts with small percentage of land within ES area were 
excluded from analysis. 

2/ 

— Percentage estimates based on hunter days for counties either completely 

or partially in ES area. 



SOURCE: Information compiled from Montana Department of Fish & Game, 
1976 Harvest Data. 



2-54 



TABLE 2-20 

PERCENT OF TOTAL HUNTER DAYS 
IN ES AREA BY WILDLIFE TYPE 



Wildlife Type 

Big Game 

Deer (37%) 
Elk (13%) 
Antelope (7%) 
Black Bear (1%) 

Upland Game 

Waterfowl 



Percent of Total Hunter 
Days in ES Area 

58% 



31% 
11% 



100% 



SOURCE: Information compiled from Montana Department of Fish & Game 
1976 Harvest Data. 



2-55 



MAP 2-14 

MONTANA DEPARTMENT 
OF FISH AND GAME REGIONS 




A Regional Office 

* State Office 

Administrative Boundaries 



2-56 



TABLE 2-21 
HABITAT DISTRIBUTION 



Wildlife Species 


Percent Habitat 1 


Mule Deer 


88% 


Whitetail 


28% 


Elk (99% in Region 4) 


13% 


Antelope 


61% 


Black Bear (Region 4) 


28% 



1/ 



Percent Habitat 
Public Land— 



22% 



13% 
67% 
21% 



— Percentage of the three-region area (4, 6, 7) encompassing the ES area 
containing habitat for each species. 

2/ 

— Public land includes state and federal land. 



SOURCE: 1978 Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. 



2-57 




MAP 2-15 

BIG GAME HUNTING: (Deer- Elk- Bear) 

Combined Hunter Days 

LEGEND 

^S 0-4000 Hunter Days 

mm 4001 - 8000 Hunter Days 

■■ 8001 -over Hunter Days 

^^ Data Combined with Other Districts 

(wj Hunting Districts 

SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish and Game. 



2-58 




MAP 2-16 

BIG GAME HUNTING: (Antelope) 



LEGEND 

^^ 0-1,000 Hunter Days 
EM 1,001 -2,000 Hunter Days 
■■ 2,001 - over Hunter Days 
(jb) Hunting Districts 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish and Came. 



2-59 




MAP 2-1 7 

UPLAND BIRD HUNTING 

All Species Combined 



LEGEND 



0-8,000 Hunter Days 
8,001 -16,000 Hunter Days 
16,001 - over Hunter Days 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish and Game. 



2-60 




MAP 2-18 

WATERFOWL HUNTING: (Ducks - Geese) 

Combined Hunter Days 
LEGEND 



0-2000 Hunter Days 
2001 -4000 Hunter Days 
4001 - over Hunter Days 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish and Game. 



2-61 



'•'■ 



■ . . . 




Figure 2-10 Fishing is a recreational opportunity provided by the public lands in the ES area. 



2-62 



Waterbody 

Judith River 



TABLE 2-22 
MAJOR FISHING WATERS IN ES AREA 

Man/days 

273 



1/ 



Missouri River 

Musselshell River 

Flatwillow Creek 

Warm Springs Creek 

War Horse Lake 

Yellow Water Lake 

Box Elder Creek Reservoir 

Clark Reservoir 

South Fork McDonald Creek 

Arrow Creek 



7157 

1402 
779 
299 
328 
782 
338 
456 
288 



— Only those waters located in or near proposed or existing AMPs are 
listed here. 



SOURCE: Montana Department of Fish & Game, Creel Census Data, 1976. 



2-63 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



(Forty-three percent of Montanans (age 16-60) par- 
ticipated in wildlife viewing, 21 percent participated 
in wildlife photography, 34 percent of campers 
stated that the opportunity to observe wildlife was a 
major reason for camping (Montana Department of 
Fish and Game 1978)). Several species of wildlife 
can be viewed in the ES area, most of which can 
be seen on public lands. Animals most often 
viewed during the recreation use season include 
antelope, deer, prairie dogs, many species of rap- 
tors (including bald eagle and golden eagle), and 
many species of birds and other non-game mam- 
mals, reptiles and amphibians. 

A small herd of wild or semi-wild horses roam 
just north of the Missouri River in the Ervin Ridge 
area of south Blaine County. They can sometimes 
be viewed by a floatboater on the Missouri River or 
from a few roads that exist in the area; however, 
viewing opportunities are limited. 

Cultural sightseeing opportunities are provided 
by numerous historic mining areas, a few historical 
ghost towns (Zortman, Giltedge, Kendall, Maiden), 
and several historic locations along the Missouri 
River associated with the Lewis and Clark Expedi- 
tion and other historic events. 



Off-Road Vehicle Use 



Recreational off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the 
ES area is, for the most part, unorganized and 
associated with other activities such as hunting, 
fishing, and sightseeing. The major vehicle for off- 
road travel is the two-wheel or four-wheel drive 
pickup. The many unimproved roads and trails scat- 
tered throughout the ES area provide access for 
off-road travel. Cross-country off-road use also 
occurs, but is limited to areas of suitable terrain. 

One identified ORV use area occurs in the 
South Moccasin Mountains near Lewistown, the 
largest population center in the ES area. The 
mountain slopes and old mining roads found in the 
area are used by cross-country off-road motorcy- 
clists. The Limekiln Canyon and New Year's Gulch 
areas in the Judith Mountains also receive rather 
intensive ORV use, especially motorcycles. 

Winter snows provide opportunities for snowmo- 
bile use on public lands in the ES area. Most snow- 
mobiling is done strictly for the enjoyment derived 
from operating the machine. No specific use areas 
have been identified. 



Floatboating 



Floatboating is one of the fastest growing recre- 
ational activities in the ES area. This is due in large 
part to the designation of a 149-mile segment of 
the Missouri River as "wild and scenic." A statisti- 
cal sample taken on the river during the floating 
use season (one week prior to Memorial Day to 
one week after Labor Day) identified 6,890 floater 
days in 1975 and 9,313 floater days in 1976; an 
increase in use of 35 percent in one year. 

As floatboating on the Missouri becomes more 
popular and other floatboating areas are identified 
(e.g., Judith River), substantial increases in use are 
expected to occur in the ES area (see Figure 2-11). 



Sport Shooting 



Sport shooting activities include plinking, target 
shooting, and varmint hunting. In most cases, these 
activities are done for nonconsumptive purposes. 
The term "varmint" includes rabbits, squirrels, prai- 
rie dogs, marmots, and some other small non-game 
species. Interest in the sport of varmint hunting has 
increased substantially over recent years due to 
increased leisure time and affluence. More and 
more dedicated varmint hunters are investing large 
amounts of money in highly specialized equipment. 
Some nonresidents travel great distances solely to 
shoot prairie dogs, a sport rapidly becoming popu- 
lar. These species constitute a valuable recreation- 
al resource (Montana Department of Fish and 
Game 1978). 



Other Activities 



The public lands in the ES area provide oppor- 
tunities for several other recreational activities in- 
cluding camping, picnicking, collecting (rocks, min- 
erals, plants, fossils), and hiking. These activities 
are associated with other recreational activities 
(hunting, fishing, and floatboating) and usually 
occur in a dispersed fashion at undeveloped sites. 
According to statewide projections for undeveloped 
camping and day use, a 42 percent increase is 
expected by 1990 (Montana Department of Fish 
and Game 1978). 



2-64 




LEGEND 



FISHING AREAS 

Cold Water Fishery 

1 I Warm Water Fishery 
O Species Unknown 



Quality Rating From 

BLM Recreation Information System 



n 



B 
C 
Unknown 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



FISHING AREAS 



MAP 2-19 




Figure 2-11 Floatboating is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the ES area. 



2-65 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



Special Management Areas 



Upper Misouri Wild and Scenic River 

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (as 
amended by Public Law 94-486) incorporated the 
149-mile segment of the Missouri River from Fort 
Benton downstream to Fred Robinson Bridge within 
the National Wild and Scenic River system (see 
Figure 2-12). The act requires protection and pres- 
ervation of the outstanding scenic, recreational, his- 
toric, and cultural values on the river. 

The area is rich in wildlife, and game species 
are hunted actively during open seasons. About 45 
species of mammals and over 200 different birds, 
including the protected bald (now on the threatened 
and endangered list) and golden eagles inhabit the 
area. 

The sport fishery resource includes the popular 
paddlefish, northern pike, catfish, sturgeon, walleye, 
sauger, and lingcod. 

Excellent sightseeing opportunities provide the 
recreationist with a diversity of experiences. 

Recreational use of the Upper Missouri Wild and 
Scenic River has changed over the past 20 years. 
From limited use by local hunters and fishermen, 
use has rapidly expanded to include recreational 
boating and camping. All recreational uses in 1976 
amounted to just over 15,000 man days. The Mon- 
tana Fish and Game Department has provided limit- 
ed camping facilities at Coal Banks Landing, Hole- 
in-the-Wall, Slaughter River, Judith Landing, Cow 
Island Landing, and Kipp State Part at Fred Robin- 
son Bridge. Commercial guide services included 
eight outfitters as of 1978-six from Montana, one 
from Oregon, and one from Washington. The major 
use season extends from one week prior to Memo- 
rial Day to one week after Labor Day. 

A conceptual plan was developed to meet legis- 
lative mandates in 1977, which outlines the man- 
agement objectives and goals and identified the 
specific management segments along the route. A 
comprehensive management plan is being devel- 
oped in 1978. (Additional background information 
concerning the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic 
River along with a map of the area is located in 
Chapter 1, Interrelationships. 



Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge 
(CMR) 

The Charles M. Russell National Wildlife 
Refuge, currently managed by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, provides a variety of recreational 
opportunities to the recreationist. Foremost are 



hunting and wildlife sightseeing activities. A com- 
prehensive planning effort is currently underway for 
the refuge. This effort is in its early stages so no 
management decisions have been reached. 



Square Butte 

One of the most scenic and unusual geologic 
features in the ES area, Square Butte, stands 
nearly 1,700 feet above the rolling plains topogra- 
phy of southern Chouteau County approximately 65 
miles northwest of Lewistown (see Figure 2-13). 

Square Butte was designated as an Outstanding 
Natural Area in 1972 and qualifies as an "instant 
study area" for wilderness review. The Bureau 
planning system emphasizes the importance of pro- 
tecting and/or enhancing the scenic and recre- 
ational values in the Square Butte area. 

In addition to its outstanding scenic values, 
Square Butte provides other recreational opportuni- 
ties such as hiking, rock climbing, and hunting. The 
Butte is also used by academic institutions for edu- 
cational purposes. 

Overall, Square Butte is as untouched today as 
it was when it was recommended for natural area 
status. Increased visitor use at the Butte appears to 
have had no detrimental effect on the area. 

There are two non-AMP grazing allotments 
within the natural area designation. These allot- 
ments involve few AUMs and have required no 
additional range improvements. 



Nez Perce Trail 

Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians, in their 
famous retreat from the U.S. Army in 1877, passed 
through the central portion of the ES area. They 
crossed the Missouri River at Cow Island and trav- 
eled northward up Cow Creek to their last battle on 
the northern flank of the Bearpaw Mountains. 

A study is currently underway to determine if the 
Nez Perce Trail should be included in the National 
Trails System as a National Historic Trail. The study 
was initiated by Congressional action; when com- 
pleted, it will await action by Congress. 

Participation in the previously described recre- 
ational activities and special management areas will 
continue to increase without implementation of the 
proposed action. Table 2-23 is a summary of the 
proposed increases in recreational use for selected 
activities present in the three Fish and Game re- 
gions encompassing the ES area. 



2-66 







Figure 2-12 The Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River provides outstanding sightseeing 



opportunities. 



2-67 




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2-68 



TABLE 2-23 



Future Trends 



Activity 



Hunting 
Big Game 
Upland Game 
Waterfowl 

Fishing 

Cold Water Species 
Warm Water Species 

Off-Road Vehicle Use 
(July participation) 

Camping and Day Use 

(Undeveloped) (July part.) 

Hiking 

(July participation) 



Use in Man Days 



1976 


1990 


% Increase 


415,816 


710,400 


71 


146,536 


232,900 


59 


53,300 


97,600 


83 


615,700 


888,200 


44 


179,000 


256,400 


43 


108,735 


144,557 


33 


236,456 


323,798 


37 


192,217 


257,226 


34 



Cross-Country Skiing 

(February participation) 



62,298 



86,281 



38 



Snowmobiling 

(February participation) 



164,600 



217,246 



32 



SOURCE: 1978 Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan 



2-69 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL 
CONDITIONS 



that the portion of each county's economy resulting 
from BLM land can be estimated with acceptable 
accuracy. 



Economic Conditions 



The county is the smallest geopolitical unit for 
which most economic data is collected. The ES 
area, however, follows the boundaries of BLM plan- 
ning units. These often do not coincide with county 
boundaries (Map 2-20). At the local level, economic 
activity centers around the county seat and other 
towns. Whatever changes occur within the ES area 
will have some effect on each county, and an over- 
all effect on the nine counties touching upon the 
ES area. This description and analysis focuses on 
the effect of range management practices within 
the ES area on the economic activity of the rele- 
vant counties. 

The nine counties which either wholly or partly 
comprise the ES area contain 23 percent of Mon- 
tana's area and 7.3 percent of its population. How- 
ever, of the 1 1 BLM planning units which comprise 
the ES area, only 3 take up total county areas. The 
other 8 planning units are located in some of the 
most sparsely populated portions of the remaining 
6 counties (Map 2-20). The ES area contains 9.1 
percent of Montana's area and an estimated 3.9 
percent of its population. Population figures for the 
ES area are estimates based on the 1970 census 
county subdivisions which most closely coincide 
with the ES area (Map 2-21). Only 25.8 percent of 
the area is under BLM jurisdiction. However, the 
proposed action calls for changes in management 
only on allotment management plans (AMPs). On 
AMPs, BLM administered lands comprise 65.3 per- 
cent of the total lands in those units. 

These factors impose limitations on both de- 
scription and analysis of the major socio-economic 
components: population, income, employment, 
social well-being, public finance, and social atti- 
tudes. County census data indicates the general 
economic condition and trends for the nine county 
area as a whole. However, because the same kinds 
of data are not collected for the ES area specifical- 
ly, the same level of precision cannot be attained 
within that boundary. 

Present condition and future effects of changes 
in management can be measured in a more general 
way for the 26 percent of the ES area over which 
BLM exercises management. The portion of eco- 
nomic activity generated by grazing on public land 
can be estimated by using employment and income 
multipliers for the area. Because planned improve- 
ments on the rangelands and resultant changes in 
AUM values can also be quantified, it is believed 



Population 

Since 1950, the nine ES area counties have 
comprised a decreasing percentage of Montana's 
total population. From 1950 to 1976, the percent- 
age of state population living in the nine county 
area fell from 9.6 percent to 7.1 percent. Although 
population increases fell dramatically between 1960 
and 1970, there have been modest population in- 
creases from 1970 to the present (Table, 2-24). The 
population changes in the nine counties since 1970 
have been relatively small, except for Valley 
County. 

The area's residence pattern as a whole is pre- 
dominantly rural farm or rural non-farm. Only Glas- 
gow in Valley County and Lewistown in Fergus 
County have enough residents (over 2,500) to qual- 
ify as urban areas according to Bureau of Census 
guidelines (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau 
of Census 1970). The average percentage of rural 
non-farm and rural farm residents for the nine 
county area is 49.1 percent and 40.5 percent, re- 
spectively. In contrast, the total Montana population 
is 33.5 percent rural non-farm and 12.8 percent 
rural farm. The general lack of employment oppor- 
tunities and the semiarid nature of the climate hold 
the average population density in the nine counties 
to 1.4 persons per square mile, compared to 5.1 
persons per square mile for the state as a whole. 
The ES area within the nine county region is cer- 
tainly more rural and has less population density 
than the nine county region, because all towns 
north of the Missouri River and all populated areas 
along the river valleys north of the Missouri River 
are outside the ES area. 



Income 

Per capita income data (Table 2-25) shows that 
the county average in the nine county region which 
includes the ES area exceeded the state levels for 
both 1975 and 1970, although the individual coun- 
ties differ significantly. Per capita income in this 
area also exceeds or matches the statistics for the 
United States (1975-$5,852 and 1970-$3,966). 
Because other statistics which measure the well- 
being of individuals and families in terms of income 
are almost ten years old as of this writing (mid 
1978), they would not provide accurate indicators 
of the income levels at the present time in the nine 
counties, especially in view of the fact that between 
1970 and 1975 per capita income rose from equali- 



2-70 




2-71 




MAP 2-21 

CENSUS SUBDIVISIONS 



LEGEND 

County Line 
Subdivision Line 



SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 
1970 Census of the Population. 



2-72 



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2-73 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



ty with the national average to above the national 
average. 

Not all income would be relevant to impacts that 
might result from implementing the proposed action 
in the ES area. The economic sectors that would 
be most affected are those that depend at least in 
part on management of the public lands: income 
from range livestock, construction income, recrea- 
tion-related income, and government-related 
income. Other sectors are not directly affected by 
range activities and are not, therefore, analyzed 
beyond their inclusion in Figure 2-14 (e.g., non- 
livestock farm income, manufacturing, mining, pri- 
vate sector services). Each of the affected eco- 
nomic sectors are described below in terms of 
direct income produced and the indirect effect on 
employment and retail trade. 

According to the most recent information availa- 
ble, range livestock-related earnings for the nine 
county region averaged $92,066,000 annually be- 
tween 1970 and 1975, based on an average yearly 
base of 907,250 livestock (cattle and sheep). The 
annual animal unit months (AUM) required to sus- 
tain this livestock base is 9,161,170. By dividing 
direct livestock earnings by AUMs, one obtains a 
direct receipt value per AUM of $10.04. Multiplying 
this direct income effect by the gross output multi- 
plier of 2.345 (Water Resources Council, Guideline 
5) produces total average yearly business activity of 
$23.54 per AUM in the nine county region as a 
result of the base livestock activity. Table 2-25 
shows individual county variations from this total. 

Within the ES area, BLM presently provides a 
yearly total of 352,397 AUMs. The livestock re- 
ceipts from these AUMs would be about $3.5 mil- 
lion annually based on the $10.04 average value of 
an AUM. Total business activity produced by these 
352,397 AUMs would be about $8.1 million annual- 
ly. Receipts from BLM AUMs in the ES area repre- 
sent 3.8 percent of the total livestock receipts in 
the nine county region. However, approximately 
400 operators have some use of BLM AUMs, and 
compared with the total of 3,938 farms (U.S. De- 
partment of Commerce, Bureau of the Census 
1974) having range pastureland, this represents 
10.2 percent of that total. 

The annual average business activity from con- 
tract construction was $16.2 million from 1970 to 
1976. Using the gross output multiplier for the con- 
struction sector, the total indirect and direct effect 
on the economy averaged $48.7 million (Table 2- 
25). The trend in each county in the ES area was 
not consistent, but in most cases, 1976 was higher 
than 1970. 



Annual federal wages in the nine county area 
averaged $20.6 million while total indirect and 
direct business activity averaged $53.5 million. 

Recreation-related income is difficult to quantify. 
The area is remote from population centers and 
many roads are unpaved and difficult to travel in 
inclement weather. Also, services are not abundant 
so that sightseeing, casual snowmobiling, and off- 
road vehicle use are limited. However, the very 
remoteness of the area contributes to its desirability 
as a hunting and fishing area. 

The number of hunters and fishermen using 
BLM land in the ES area, days of use, and expendi- 
tures per day have been quantified (Table 2-25). In 
1976 expenditures amounted to $929,000 in the 
total ES area. Because the expenditures for this 
recreation activity are included in the overall retail 
trade and service sectors, it is difficult to accurately 
estimate the total business effect provided by hunt- 
ing and fishing. The best estimates available, how- 
ever, indicate a total indirect and direct business 
activity caused by hunting and fishing of $1.3 mil- 
lion. 



Employment 

Employment increased during the early 1970s 
and has remained relatively stable from 1974 
through 1977 in the nine county ES region (Table 
2-26). The unemployment rate at the end of 1977 
was 5.6 percent, below both state and national 
levels. 

The largest single sector for employment is agri- 
culture (Figure 2-15), which is relatively stable. This 
is reflected in the low unemployment rates in Chou- 
teau, Garfield, McCone, and Petroleum Counties 
(Table 2-26), which are all primarily agricultural with 
few towns. Other important sectors of employment 
are government, trade, and services which are as- 
sociated with the population centers serving the 
rural areas. 

Employment distribution among sectors appears 
to be relatively stable. Only increased development 
of coal, oil, and gas would change the proportions 
displayed in Figure 2-15. These cannot be quanti- 
fied at present, because much of the minerals de- 
velopment is only at the exploration stage. 



Social Conditions 



Social Well-Being 

The region is continuing to have a declining 
proportion of the state's population (Table 2-24). 



2-74 



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2-77 



Figure 2-14 



TOTAL LABOR AND PROPRIETORS PERSONAL 
INCOME, 1975 NINE COUNTY ES AREA 




Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economics Information System 



2-78 



TABLE 2-26 
Total Employment in the Nine County Area 



1971 


21,970 


1972 


22,419 


1973 


22,497 


1974 


23,244 


1975 


22,852 


1977 


23,093 



Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Information 
System; Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Research 
and Analysis Section, Employment Security Division 



2-79 



Figure 2-15 



EMPLOYMENT BY ECONOMIC SECTOR 1 , 1975 




'Chart includes employment of both proprietors and labor. The Agriculture sector includes both proprietors and 
farm labor employment. The Trade sector is labor employment only. 
^Estimated because of confidentiality of statistics. 

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Information System; Montana Department of Labor 
and Industry, Research and Analysis Section, Employment Security Division. 



2-80 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



These population statistics are indicative of the 
area's remote nature, and its position as a place 
with fewer employment and social opportunities 
than other areas of Montana. 

Other social well-being indicators support this 
reasoning. The age distribution of the ES area 
shows Montana as a whole to have a greater pro- 
portion of the age 18 to 64 population, indicating 
greater opportunities for the major working portion 
of the population outside the nine county ES area. 
Although the area is still predominantly rural (Table 
2-24), the number of farms is declining (Table 2- 
27). The towns in the area are lacking in some 
basic services. For example, the number of persons 
per physician is critically higher than elsewhere in 
Montana and two counties have no physicians at all 
(Table 2-27). 

Median family income is also lower than the 
average for Montana, and the number of families 
with incomes below the national poverty level are 
higher than the overall Montana figures. However, 
families with incomes higher than $15,000 (Table 2- 
27) are proportionally similar to the rest of Mon- 
tana, and the higher poverty level income figures 
must be balanced with the often significant invest- 
ment in land, buildings, and equipment some of the 
low income families have. 

Even though the area is remote and sparsely 
populated, all of these factors used to measure 
social well-being cannot be considered as negative. 
Many urban problems such as high crime rates and 
overcrowding are less significant here. Unemploy- 
ment is below both state and national levels, and in 
some counties is less than half the national rate 
(Table 2-27). The median education level is compa- 
rable to the rest of Montana (Table 2-27). 

The number of families with incomes over 
$15,000 is also comparable to Montana as a whole. 
In summary, this area has a mixed level of social 
well-being. It would appear that individual opportuni- 
ties and freedoms are present, evidenced by edu- 
cational level, crime rates, etc., but are countered 
by factors endemic to remote rural areas, principal- 
ly lack of a large enough social base to provide 
some services. 



Public Finance and Infrastructure 

The nine county ES area has 10 percent of 
assessed property valuation and taxable valuation 
within the state, and paid about 9 percent of the 
state total property taxes (see Table 2-28 for raw 
data). The proportion of total taxes paid was slightly 
higher than the proportion of the state's population 
contained in the ES area counties (7.3 percent). 
Per capita taxation (Table 2-28) was higher 



($412.60) than the state ($315.41). The public 
lands located in the nine counties contributed pay- 
ments amounting to 16.1 million dollars (Table 2- 
28) from return of grazing fees, mineral leases, and 
payments in lieu of taxes. The low population, large 
area (23 percent of the state), and high per capita 
taxation place limits on the amount of services the 
ES area counties and population can provide 
(Table 2-29). 



Socio-Cultural Attitudes 

General attitudinal surveys indicate the state to 
be generally conservative (Montana State Universi- 
ty 1977). That is, economic development is viewed 
in a positive way. Most people are against govern- 
ment encroachment on private property rights, and 
government influence is seen as most desirable 
when it is exercised at the local level. Among differ- 
ent types of economic development, most people 
favor agriculture. Although conservative, most 
people would not totally sacrifice the environment 
for economic development. There is widespread in- 
terest in wildlife, and more people than not feel that 
land and water use planning is a necessity. Once 
again, however, prevailing opinion favors planning 
occurring at a state or local level, rather than by 
the federal government. About 60 percent of the 
population agree or strongly agree that they are 
willing to forego some economic opportunities in 
order to live in Montana. 

Within the ES area counties, public opinion ex- 
pressed by means of open houses, public meeting, 
direct individual contact, and correspondence has 
identified several issues bearing on range manage- 
ment. Rancher groups and individual citizen com- 
ments are expressions of attitudes towards the var- 
ious issues. The patterns are generally similar to 
the opinions expressed in the attitude survey dis- 
cussed above. 

These people and groups gave moderate sup- 
port to keeping essentially primitive parcels of land 
in that state as long as it does not prohibit livestock 
grazing. It is not clear, however, if there is support 
for formal wilderness designation. Most rural people 
would limit off-road vehicle use. Support exists for 
improving wildlife habitat if it is in conjunction with 
sound management that also provides for livestock 
grazing. Measures are definitely supported that 
would increase the quality and quantity of livestock 
grazing: effective predator and prairie dog control; 
range improvements such as stock water reser- 
voirs, other water developments, and judicious 
fencing; and artificial range treatments such as sa- 
gebrush spraying, seeding, and contour furrowing. 



2-81 



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On the other hand, some special interest 
groups-particularly wildlife oriented organizations 
(with membership both inside and outside the ES 
area)--expressed some contrasting attitudes. Al- 
though there were no objections to livestock graz- 
ing, these opinions were more restrictive on meas- 
ures to promote livestock economic benefits. They 
were against artificial range treatments and some 
measures for predator and prairie dog control. Wil- 
derness or primitive status for some areas was 
seen as beneficial. 

The public response by BLM dependent opera- 
tors to the latest BLM planning documents was 
limited. The documents included detailed discus- 
sion of the allotment management plans presented 
in this environmental analysis. Individual discus- 
sions between BLM employees and ranchers con- 
cerning either already implemented allotment man- 
agement plans or those that are proposed show a 
mixed response. Most ranchers regard maintaining 
the condition of public lands with the same sense 
of responsibility accorded their private lands. On 
implemented allotment management plans, most 
ranchers follow these plans closely. For proposed 
plans, some resistance was shown to AUM reduc- 
tions but at the same time there was agreement 
with the need for more careful management. Be- 
cause grazing leases are always operated in con- 
junction with private base property, some of the 
attitudinal survey patterns are present; namely, a 
feeling that private property is managed in the best 
interest of both economics and environment. Some 
resistance is shown to the federal government's 
dictating management practices upon which most 
ranchers already hold firm and sometimes different 
opinions. That the proposed action and rancher 
practices are not too far apart is shown by agree- 
ment in principle by most ranchers that careful 
management is needed, but some disagreement 
occurs in specific methods. 



LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 



Land Ownership 

Surface lands within the ES area are predomi- 
nantly in private ownership (62 percent, Table 2-30 
and Map 2-22). Lands administered by the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) constitute 26 percent, 
or 2,199,570 acres of the ES area. BLM adminis- 
tered lands predominate in those areas under con- 
sideration for allotment management plans (AMPs). 
Surface lands under BLM administration constitute 
65 percent of the total AMP acreage (see Figure 2- 



16). This ownership pattern is consistent throughout 
the rolling plains, riverbreaks, and mountains land- 
form areas. 



Livestock Grazing 



There are approximately 400 livestock operators 
currently licensed to graze on 1,972,035 acres of 
public lands included in AMPs within the ES area. 
These livestock operations use 318 allotments and 
harvest about 294,401 AUMs of forage annually. 
Actual numbers of livestock grazing on these allot- 
ments are not readily available, but the annual har- 
vest of AUMs is equivalent to 24,553 animal units. 
The current annual licensed use of 294,401 AUMs 
is 13,951 AUMs less than the 308,352 AUMs re- 
ported by range surveys (see Appendix 4). The 
lower level of current licensed use is due, in part, to 
BLM's required suspension of grazing privileges be- 
cause in some allotments, adequate forage does 
not exist, and to the identification of acreage as 
unsuitable for grazing subsequent to the initial 
range surveys. Within AMP allotments, approxi- 
mately 3 percent (101,918 acres) of the total acre- 
age has been classified as unsuitable. 

Cattle are the most prevalent class of livestock, 
although sheep, horses, and buffalo also graze 
some of these public lands. The 318 allotments 
consist of 267 cattle allotments; 4 sheep allot- 
ments; 17 cattle and sheep allotments; 26 cattle 
and horse allotments, 3 cattle, sheep, and horse 
allotments; and 1 cattle, horse and buffalo allot- 
ment. Cattle graze over 99 percent of these allot- 
ments and there is a wide variance in management 
practices among these cattle operations. Most 
ranches run a cow/calf operation, and all sell fall 
weaner calves. However, there are some oper- 
ations which hold over weaner calves and run year- 
ling operations. Breeding season usually runs from 
about mid-June to the end of August, thus calves 
begin dropping around mid-March and runs to 
about the end of May. Weaner and/or yearling 
calves are usually sold in October and November. 
About 10 to 15 percent of the annual calf crop are 
usually retained as replacement heifers. Beef 
breeds within the ES area are too numerous to 
mention. There are several breeds constantly being 
imported from Canada, and while some registered 
or purebred herds do exist, crossbreeding is most 
predominant. 

Due to a wide variety of management practices 
among livestock operators, seasons of use of these 
public lands vary considerably and range from a 
few weeks or months to year-long grazing. Within 
these 318 allotments, there are 94 allotments 
grazed year-long, and 224 allotments grazed peri- 



2-85 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



odically during various periods or combinations of 
periods of spring, summer, fall, and winter use. 
There are approximately 125 of these 224 allot- 
ments which receive all of their use between the 
dates of March 1 through October 31 annually. The 
remaining 99 allotments receive most of their use 
between the dates of November 1 through Febru- 
ary 28; however, some of these turn-in dates may 
precede November 1 by a month or six weeks. 
Weather conditions may also require the removal of 
livestock from these allotments during severe win- 
ters. 

Forage production varies considerably between 
and within allotments, and from year to year. Range 
surveys show forage production to range from less 
than one acre per AUM to 20 or more acres per 
AUM. Unsuitable rangeland in these 318 allotments 
is about 101,918 acres (3 percent of the total AMP 
acres). Approximately 74,985 acres (74 percent) 
classified as unsuitable lie within the riverbreaks 
landform area; 21,509 acres (21 percent) are in the 
rolling plains landform area; and 5,424 acres (5 
percent) are within the mountains landform area. 
The overall average for current licensed use is 
about 6.7 acres per AUM. The average production 
of all suitable rangelands is about 6.3 acres per 
AUM for current annual use. The variance in annual 
forage production can create considerable concen- 
tration of livestock in areas of the allotments where 
more palatable species and water developments 
are located. This creates poor livestock distribution 
in the good years as well as in the poor years of 
forage production. During drought years, this com- 
petition leads to reduced calf crops, lighter weaning 
weights, and increased stress on mother cows. Fur- 
thermore, plant vigor is reduced and seed produc- 
tion is almost nonexistent. 

Livestock populations as of January 1, 1976, 
were estimated at approximately 161,000 head of 
beef cattle and 46,000 head of sheep for the ES 
area (Montana Department of Agriculture 1976). 
These figures represent a decrease in livestock 
populations from 1974 as shown in Table 2-31. 
With both cattle and sheep showing a decrease, 
the total animal units of the ES area have de- 
creased by about 9 percent from 1974 to 1976 
(one animal unit equals one cow, one cow and calf, 
or five sheep). 

According to Montana Agricultural Statistics 
1976, cattle numbers reached a recorded peak in 
1974. Sheep populations have been decreasing 
since the 1930s and 1940s with a fairly steady 
trend since 1960. These trends apply to the entire 
state, and it is assumed they would be applicable 
to the ES area. Future trends of cattle populations 
are totally speculative; however, it appears that 
sheep populations will continue to decline due to 



limited predator control programs and increased 
production costs such as for labor and fencing. 

Using the 1976 population estimates, the ES 
area has a total of 170,200 animal units which 
would require 2,042,400 AUMs of forage and sup- 
plements annually. Present licensed use from BLM 
records show a total of 352,397 AUMs being used 
annually from public lands within the ES area. 
These AUMs represent about 17 percent of the 
total annual needs of the ES area. Although this 17 
percent does not represent the only major source 
of livestock forage, it does represent a dependency 
on public lands for forage during critical periods of 
the grazing season for most operators. 



Wilderness 



The wilderness inventory, in accordance with 
Sec. 603(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Man- 
agement Act (FLPMA), has not been completed on 
the public lands that would be impacted by the 
proposal. Prior to implementation of any actions, 
the areas will have to be inventoried and impacts 
on potential or existing wilderness areas assessed. 

Until Congress acts on an area that has been 
designated for wilderness study, existing multiple- 
use activities, including grazing and supporting ac- 
tivities, will continue. New uses or expanded exist- 
ing uses will be allowed if the impacts will not 
impair the suitability of the area for wilderness. 

Under the guidance of FLPMA, the Bureau has 
developed draft wilderness review procedures to be 
used to inventory and select potential wilderness 
areas (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of 
Land Management 1978). These procedures pro- 
vide for protection and interim management of 
areas that may qualify for wilderness until a final 
determination can by made by Congress. 

The BLM role in the wilderness review proce- 
dure is to recommend to the Secretary of the Interi- 
or, President, and Congress which public lands are 
suitable or nonsuitable for wilderness preservation. 
Congress makes the final decision on what areas 
will be included in the National Wilderness Preser- 
vation System. 

Figure 2-17 identifies the steps involved in the 
wilderness review process. Public involvement is an 
integral part of these procedures. 

One "instant study area," Square Butte Natural 
Area (designated prior to November 1, 1975), lies 
within the ES area. The proposed Arrow Creek 
AMP would be located within this natural area; 
however, no range improvement projects are pro- 
posed. 



2-86 




j 1 Public Domain Land (BLM) 

j J State Land 

|| J Forest Service Land 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

MISSOURI BREAKS 

ENVIRONMENTAL 

STATEMENT 



LAND OWNERSHIP 



SOURCE: BLM Status Records, 1978 



MAP 2-22 



DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 



A 5,000 acre roadless area inventory and sub- 
sequent identification of additional wilderness study 
areas has not been completed. However, because 
the ES area contains many relatively remote sites, 
several wilderness study areas may be identified 
through the inventory process. 

One proposed "primitive area" was identified 
through the BLM planning process (the primitive 
area designation was used prior to the enactment 
of FLPMA). This site, proposed as the Seven 
Blackfoot Primitive Area, contains portions of four 
proposed AMPs (Emmett Clark and Son - 2052, 
McKeever Homestead - 2214, Seven Blackfoot 
Common - 2362, and Seven Blackfoot - 2371). No 
range improvements are proposed in Emmett Clark 
and Son and Seven Blackfoot Common AMPs. Five 
reservoirs, 1 well, 2.5 miles of fence, and 480 acres 
of plowing and seeding are proposed within the 
primitive area in the Seven Blackfoot AMP and 1 
reservoir and 180 acres of plowing and seeding are 
proposed within the McKeever Homestead AMP. 

Fifteen areas within the Charles M. Russell Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge have been recommended for 
wilderness designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1974). Several of these areas are 
located adjacent to public lands. 

Until Congress determines whether or not to 
designate an area identified during the inventory as 
wilderness, multiple use activities will continue with 
minimum interruption in a manner that will not 
impair the suitability for preservation as wilderness 
in accordance with Section 603(c) of FLPMA. 



2-87 









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2-88 



Figure 2-16 

AMP ACREAGE DISTRIBUTION 
AND LAND OWNERSHIP 




E. S. Area 



LEGEND 
| | BLM Administered Lands 

I | Other Lands 




Mountains 



Source: BLM, 1978 



2-89 



TABLE 2-31 
Estimated Livestock Populations of ES Area- 



Class^ 1974 - 1975- 1976- % Decrease 

Beef Cattle 177,000 174,800 161,000 9.04 

Sheep 55,300 49,800 46,000 16.82 



— All figures are based upon data from Montana Agricultural Statistics 

(Montana Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
Statistical Reportinq Service, 1976) 

2/ 

— Figures estimated as of January 1 



2-90 



Figure 2-17 
BLM WILDERNESS INVENTORY PROCESS 



BLM STATE DIRECTORS START INVENTORY 
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT 



BLM DISTRICTS CONDUCT INITIAL INVENTORY 

Analyze Existing Information 

Ownership - Roads - Impacts - Uses 

Identify Inventory Units Prepare Situation Evaluation 



STATE DIRECTOR ISSUES PROPOSED INITIAL INVENTORY DECISION 
(Map) 



AREAS THAT WILL 

BE SUBJECT TO 

INTENSIVE INVENTORY 



DISTRICTS 

CONDUCT 

INTENSIVE 

INVENTORY WITH 

FULL PUBLIC 
PARTICIPATION 



LANDS THATCLEARLY AND 
OVBIOUSLYDONOT 
MEET WSA CRITERIA 



90-Day Public Review 



State Director 
Issues Final Initial 
Inventory Decision 



X 



Areas Relumed 

for 

intensive Inventory 



Lands That Clearly And 
Obviously Do Not 
Meet WSA Criteria 

RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED 

BY SEC 603FLPMA 
WILL NO LONGER APPLY 



State Director Issues Proposed Decision (Map) 



AREAS IDENTIFIED 

AS WSA s 



: 



AREAS THAT 
DO NOT MEET 
WSA CRITERIA 



90-Day Public Review 



STATE DIRECTOR ISSUES FINAL DECISION 

(Map) 

(TO BE FINAL 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION) 



WSA s IDENTIFIED 



WSA Man, »menl 

Study and Recommend 

Suitable or Nonsuitable 

Report to Sec Pres. Congress 



_L 



Management Restrictions 

IMPOSED BY 

SEC.603FLPMA 

WILL NO LONGER APPLY 



2-91 



CHAPTER 3 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



CHAPTER 3 
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



This chapter analyzes the significant environ- 
mental impacts caused by implementation of the 
proposed action. 



Procedures and Assumptions 



Two primary elements of the proposed action 
may affect the resources or environmental compo- 
nents. Each component was analyzed by determin- 
ing the effect of all elements of the primary actions 
upon that component. The impact causing ele- 
ments of the proposed action are: 

1 . Grazing Systems: 

Seasonal 
Deferred Rotation 
Rest Rotation 
Combination of Systems 

2. Range Improvements: 

Fencing and Cattleguards 

Stockwater Reservoirs 

Wells 

Spring Developments 

Water Pipelines 

Stockwater Tanks 

Rainwater Catchments 

Vegetative Manipulation 

Basic assumptions were made to facilitate anal- 
ysis, to adhere to basic policy, and to measure the 
effect of the proposal. The assumptions, used in 
the analysis of the impacts on each component, 
are: 

1. BLM will have the funding and manpower to 

implement the AMPs and manage the allot- 
ments. 

2. All range improvements, vegetative manipulation, 

and grazing systems will be implemented within 
four years of approval. 

3. BLM will receive sufficient funding to maintain 

new and existing improvements, and to make 
revisions in AMPs as necessary. 

4. BLM will verify the level of impacts and monitor 

the AMPs for the purpose of making necessary 



adjustments in those plans which are not meet- 
ing the desired multiple use objectives. 

5. Short term impacts are those which would occur 

during AMP implementation (1980 through 
1984). Long term impacts are those projected 
when AMP objectives are met (approximately 
the year 2000). 

6. Newly implemented grazing systems would be 

adhered to through at least one complete 
cycle. Unauthorized livestock use would be 
strictly controlled and would not be a signifi- 
cant impact causing agent. 

7. Allocation of additional forage resulting from im- 

proved grazing management would generally 
be at the same level as the existing allocation 
(i.e., 30 to 40 percent of the total annual vege- 
tation production allocated to livestock with the 
remaining 60 to 70 percent allocated to water- 
shed, wildlife, and other consumptive and non- 
consumptive uses). 

8. Available livestock forage (expressed in AUMs) 

on proposed AMP areas would decrease 
nearly 5 percent from existing levels, without 
the proposed action, by the year 2000. With 
the proposed action, available livestock forage 
would increase over 7 percent from existing 
levels by the year 2000. The methodology 
used to obtain the foregoing livestock forage 
increases and decreases are discussed in 
Chapter 3, Vegetation. 

9. The large number of AMPs (318) made aggrega- 

tion of allotments necessary so that analysis 
could be made workable and easily under- 
stood. The major divisions of allotment groups 
used for analysis was by landform: riverbreaks, 
rolling plains, high plains, and mountains. This 
aggregation system was used primarily by the 
soils and vegetation components. Some com- 
ponents, for which data was collected by other 
parameters, could not be analyzed according 
to landform (for example, prehistoric and his- 
toric features, recreation, and economic and 
social conditions). 

A general comparison of the implementation 
and impacts of the proposed action and the alter- 
natives is presented in Chapter 8. 



3-1 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



CLIMATE AND AIR QUALITY 



The proposed action would have no significant 
effect on the climate of the ES area. 

Dust and exhaust emissions would be produced 
locally and temporarily by construction of range im- 
provements. Spraying would add herbicides to the 
air over 2,236 acres for short times. The duration of 
dust production from each operation would depend 
on the time of the activity (season) and the rate at 
which revegetation would occur. Contour furrowing 
and plowing and seeding would put dust in the air 
locally. In no case would dust or exhaust gases be 
expected to exceed state or federal air quality 
standards. 



GEOLOGY 



The proposed action could lead to discovery 
and/or destruction of significant fossils by ground 
disturbance during construction of reservoirs or 
other water related improvements or during plowing 
and seeding or contour furrowing. About 100 reser- 
voirs are planned to be installed in 32 proposed 
AMPs that overlie the Hell Creek or Fort Union 
beds in McCone, Garfield, and northeastern Petro- 
leum Counties. Fossils of Late Cretaceous age 
could be unearthed through excavations in the Hell 
Creek Formation, and fossils of early Tertiary age 
could be found in the Tullock or Tongue River 
Members of the Fort Union Formation. 



SOILS 



Implementation of proposed grazing systems 
which incorporate deferral of grazing based upon 
seed ripening for plant regeneration (37 percent or 
approximately 1,126,000 acres of the ES area allot- 
ment acreage), and those which incorporate a 
cyclic rest period (39 percent or 1,168,000 acres) 
are designed to increase vegetative cover and litter. 
Rest would be cyclic; within a four-pasture system, 
each pasture would be rested one year in four, for 
example. A summary discussion of the effects of 
livestock grazing on soils is included as Appendix 5. 
Soil compaction induced by livestock trampling 
would be reduced due to better livestock distribu- 
tion. Water infiltration would increase, resulting in 
higher available water capacity, with high clay con- 
tent soils experiencing the least improvement. Sur- 
face runoff and associated erosion and sedimenta- 



tion would be reduced. Within the project life of 15 
years after AMP implementation, based on project- 
ed increases in vegetative cover and litter from 
improved range condition, an average long term 
improvement of 7 percent of present acreage within 
each erosion condition class (slight, moderate, criti- 
cal, or severe) to the next better condition class is 
expected (see Table 3-1). Critical and severe ero- 
sion condition reduction would be 18,245 acres in 
the long term. Sediment quantities would decrease 
proportionally, as shown in Table 3-2. Total long 
term reduction in sediment is projected as 185,729 
tons annually. 

Compaction effects from livestock trampling 
would be further reduced by avoidance of livestock 
grazing during the March through May wet period in 
18 percent or approximately 542,600 acres of the 
ES area under consideration for allotment manage- 
ment plans. Quantification of compaction effects 
has not been documented in the ES area, although 
future studies are proposed. 

Net short term (4-year) increase in erosion 
losses is estimated at 36,396 tons from 17,244 
acres disturbed by proposed range improvements. 
Estimates are based on a maximum projected 5 
tons of erosion loss per acre annually for the four 
year implementation period for all improvements 
except vegetative conversion, contour furrows, and 
sagebrush spraying. Contour furrows are expected 
to decrease erosion and sediment yield by 1,690 
tons on 2,253 acres, based on average ES area 
loss estimates of .75 tons per acre (see Table 3-3). 

Lands disturbed for water developments (1,352 
acres) would be permanently removed from forage 
productivity. Beneficial impacts of improved live- 
stock and wildlife distribution, as further discussed 
in Appendix 5, should outweigh this acreage remov- 
al, by reducing grazing utilization and associated 
watershed impacts along present drainage bottoms 
and adjacent to other permanent water sources, 
involving approximately 543,300 acres or 18 per- 
cent of total AMP acreage. Accelerated erosion at 
or near the proposed water developments, although 
not presently quantified, would occur. 

Incised trails, presently not quantified by moni- 
toring, in most areas where slopes do not exceed 
20 percent would improve moderately. 



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3-5 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



WATER RESOURCES 



Ground Water 

Impacts on aquifers from the proposed action 
would be nearly insignificant. Where surface water 
cannot be developed economically for livestock 
use, wells have been considered as alternative 
water sources. The Tongue River Member of the 
Fort Union Formation, the Judith River Formation, 
the Eagle Sandstone, and the Kootenai Formation 
are available aquifers. Each aquifer would be 
tapped by one or more wells. In much of the ES 
area, thick sections of Bearpaw, Claggett, or Colo- 
rado Shale at or close to the surface overlie the 
shallowest aquifer. Some wells would have to be as 
much as 1,400 feet deep. The withdrawal of water 
from 34 new wells (at a density of one well per 392 
square miles) would be approximately 82 acre-feet 
annually, based on estimates of 2.4 acre-feet per 
year per well. Within the 8.5 million acre ES area, 
the aquifers of the extensive sedimentary beds 
would not experience a significant drawdown. 
Pumping tests have not been able to estimate the 
miniscule withdrawal effect of a 3 gallon-per-minute 
average well output on such a vast aquifer. 

The proposed action includes development of 
25 springs for livestock water. Springs are places 
where water is discharged naturally from an aquifer; 
the proposed developments would collect the dis- 
charged water and pipe it away from the spring site 
to a tank or trough. Livestock (and other animals) 
would be moved away from the discharge areas. 
Aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation would be re- 
duced at the spring sites but would be likely to be 
relocated downstream from the watering facilities. 
Spring development would not alter spring flow, nor 
the water supply in the discharging aquifer. 



Surface Water 



Peak Discharges 

Installation of 436 reservoirs throughout the ES 
area would affect 109,000 acres, or one percent of 
the 8.5 million acre ES area. These reservoirs 
would be placed on upland drainages averaging 
250 acres in size. They would catch diffuse water, 
and until filled, would reduce peak discharge from 
those limited diffuse areas. Peak discharges of pri- 
mary streams coursing through the ES area, and 
fed primarily by snowmelt from mountain areas out- 
side the ES area, would not be significantly affect- 
ed. 



Runoff 

Annual runoff would be reduced by several parts 
of the proposed action. The 436 proposed reser- 
voirs would have an average capacity of 12 acre- 
feet. Assuming that all the water in each reservoir 
would be used, lost as leakage, evaporated, or 
transpired each year, annual runoff would be re- 
duced by 5,232 acre-feet from the entire ES area of 
approximately 8.5 million acres. 

The 25 rainwater catchments would intercept 
precipitation before it became runoff from about 6 
acres. The impact would not be detectable. Surface 
manipulation techniques, such as contour furrowing 
and plowing and seeding, would reduce runoff; 
however, the total land to be thus treated would be 
slightly more than 13,000 acres. If all the potential 
runoff from this land were intercepted, the net re- 
duction would be less than 550 acre-feet per year, 
which would be only marginally significant in the 
local watersheds. 

The proposed action includes spraying of 2,236 
acres of sagebrush in the riverbreaks landform 
which would reduce transpiration of soil moisture by 
an insignificant amount, but the water would not 
necessarily become runoff. The impact would prob- 
ably not be detectable. 

Proposed modification of grazing systems in- 
volving 3 million acres or 35 percent of the 8.5 
million acre ES area are projected to improve range 
condition on that acreage by 7 percent. That is, 7 
percent of the acreage presently classified as good, 
fair, or poor would be improved to the next better 
range condition category. 

The deferred and rest rotation systems would 
improve range condition by increasing vegetation 
and litter. The increased vegetation would have a 
correspondingly higher evapotranspiration rate, in- 
creasing water infiltration. Runoff on these 3 million 
acres also would be reduced by the ground cover 
created from increased vegetation and litter. Esti- 
mates of improvement in runoff and infiltration have 
not been quantified beyond the projected 7 percent 
improvement in range condition class. Trends 
would be monitored on study sites within the area 
affected. Additional discussion of livestock grazing 
effects on infiltration and runoff are included in Ap- 
pendix 5. 



Chemical Quality 

The 436 reservoirs proposed would fill primarily 
with snowmelt and rainfall. The water would have a 
lower concentration of dissolved solids than water 
in perennial or intermittent streams normally has by 
midsummer. The quality of water stored from rain- 



3-6 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



water catchments would be superior to that of 
ground water and most other surface water, due to 
ground water flow influence. Ground water from the 
aquifers of sedimentary beds and surface waters 
passing through clayey and shale-derived soil mate- 
rials have high levels of dissolved solids. 

The proposed 436 reservoirs would be located 
after analysis of the most detailed soil data availa- 
ble and on-site consultation with a soil scientist. 
Tight shale bed locations would be selected over 
sandier strata to reduce potential of saline seep 
below reservoirs. Reservoirs in the area have expe- 
rienced seep areas seldom exceeding .1 acre. 

Surface manipulation techniques would have a 
slight adverse impact on quality of surface water. 
Contour furrowing and plowing and seeding would 
tend to trap water on the land and thereby reduce 
the volume of runoff on 13,100 acres and thereby 
reduce the volume of runoff. This acreage would 
retain an insignificant amount of study area surface 
water, and the effect on chemical quality would be 
undetectable. 



Biological Quality 

Livestock management systems and additional 
water developments are designed to redistribute 
livestock over much of the lightly grazed upland, 
thus reducing concentration of animals along ripar- 
ian areas. Placement of new reservoirs, stock 
tanks, and rainfall catchments in areas where lack 
of water has restricted grazing of available forage 
would reduce the use of existing watering sites. 
Biological quality of streams coursing through the 
ES area would be improved by relocation of live- 
stock to upland areas. Distance of overland flow 
and time for consequent aeration would reduce the 
likelihood of bacterial constituents from reaching 
water courses. Data is not available for estimation 
of present biological water quality, nor for changes 
expected with redistribution of livestock away from 
streams. 



Summary of Impacts to Water 
Resources 



Impacts from livestock use and water develop- 
ments on water resources are not significant. Draw- 
down from 34 new wells would be approximately 82 
acre-feet annually. Installation of 436 reservoirs 
would affect drainage from 109,000 acres or 1 per- 
cent of the 8.5 million acre ES area. Spring devel- 
opment would not alter spring flow nor the water 
supply in the discharging aquifer. Runoff would be 
reduced and water infiltration enhanced by the pro- 



jected 7 percent improvement in vegetation and 
litter from implementation of deferred and rest rota- 
tion grazing systems. Chemical quality of proposed 
reservoirs and rainfall catchments would be superi- 
or to that of ground water and most other surface 
water. Saline seep areas below reservoirs would 
seldom exceed .1 acre per reservoir, or approxi- 
mately 44 acres for the entire ES area. Biological 
quality would be moderately improved by redistribu- 
tion of livestock, reducing concentration of animals 
along stream courses. 



VEGETATION 



Vegetation Types and Species 
Composition 



Proposed grazing management of public lands 
in the ES area includes a variety of grazing sys- 
tems, including rest rotation, deferred rotation, 
season-long, and various combinations thereof. Es- 
timations of vegetation impacts are based on pro- 
fessional judgment and cited studies. Although only 
one published study was conducted within the ES 
area, all cited studies are believed applicable since 
the findings discuss the results of meeting basic 
plant needs. Providing for plant needs for reproduc- 
tion and establishment results in similar responses 
regardless of location (Martin 1 975). 

Grazing any time during the growing period re- 
duces the amount of food made and stored by 
plants. This reduction in turn decreases the plants' 
capacity to produce both shoot and root growth the 
following growing seasons (Hormay 1970, page 14). 
This growing period, which varies from one plant 
species to another in the ES area, begins in mid- 
March and continues into September. 

Hormay (1970, page 14) indicates that defolia- 
tion is most harmful when food reserves are lowest. 
This occurs in the spring or early summer when the 
plant is most rapidly growing, or any time until food 
storage is completed. Using fall levels of carbohy- 
drates (food reserves) as an index to determine the 
severity of defoliation, Cook (1971) found reserves 
lowest following defoliation during rapid growth peri- 
ods, or at maturity. Approximately 75 percent of the 
reserves are used in the spring to produce some 10 
percent of herbage growth (Stoddart and Smith 
1955, page 101). 

Continual spring use of browse plants will se- 
verely deplete the plants' food reserves and repro- 
ductive growth, reduce vigor, and could eventually 
cause the death of the plant. Garrison (1972, page 



3-7 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



276) states that removal of the terminal bud will 
activate the lateral dormant buds but that this vege- 
tative growth is detrimental to flower and fruit pro- 
duction. Therefore, a decrease in the amount of 
viable seed would occur, leading to fewer new 
plants in the future. Garrison also states that "late 
spring and middle of the growing season . . . are 
the most damaging periods of use" (1972, page 
278). Browse plants completely defoliated three or 
four times in a season are readily killed, and remov- 
al of only half of the foliage markedly weakens the 
plant (Stoddart and Smith 1955, page 104). 

Therefore, based on the above discussion, 75 
allotments in the ES area currently receiving con- 
tinuous spring and summer livestock use subject 
the plants to grazing during critical periods. Short 
term impacts under these treatments would be a 
decrease in plant vigor, reproduction, litter accumu- 
lation, and seedling establishment (Hormay 1970). 

Fall and winter, or dormant season grazing, are 
considered to be the least harmful periods of graz- 
ing. Garrison (1972, page 278) found that fall and 
winter use of selected species is the least damag- 
ing to carbohydrate reserves. Defoliation of 50 to 
60 percent of a current year's growth is less harm- 
ful in the fall, early or late winter, and early spring 
than in late spring or early summer (Cook 1971, 
page 51). 

With the exception of some of the seasonal and 
non-AMP allotments that are grazed during the criti- 
cal period, each allotment would have systematic 
deferred or rest periods built into a grazing system. 
This would assure that each pasture in the rest and 
deferred rotation allotments would not be grazed at 
the same time each year. The amount of rest 
needed would be determined by the species that 
needed the most rest to regain vigor after it had 
been defoliated during the critical growing period 
(Hormay 1970, page 16). Each pasture in a rest 
rotation grazing system, for example, would receive 
a rest period at least once every two to four years 
which has been found adequate based upon past 
experience with existing AMPs in this and similar 
geographic areas. Short term vegetation impacts 
from spring and summer rest would be increased 
vigor, reproduction, seedling establishment, and 
litter accumulation (Hormay 1970, page 18). 

Each AMP contains specific objectives. One of 
these objectives is to change plant species compo- 
sition. For example, the Dry Armells AMP proposes 
to increase needleandthread grass from 7 percent 
to 15 percent, and western wheatgrass from 17 
percent to 25 percent in ten years in part of the 
allotment. The numerical data relative to species 
composition changes were derived by obtaining the 
existing species composition from field studies and 
then projecting the desired species composition 



generally obtained from SCS site potential informa- 
tion or other protected site data. 

These specific objectives, or projected changes 
in species composition, are available for review in 
the BLM Montana State Office. On a general basis, 
species composition shifts can be projected using 
the information given in Appendix 7. This appendix 
lists the major plant species present, in their ap- 
proximate order of dominance, under climax range 
condition for each range site. 

Appendix 7 also lists those plants that increase 
with grazing pressure. Therefore, as range condi- 
tion regresses from excellent to poor, successively 
greater amounts of those species that increase with 
grazing pressure would be found in the present 
vegetation composition, with an attendant decrease 
in the dominant species composition. The reverse 
would be true as range condition improves. The 
range site making up the majority of the existing 
and proposed AMPs is identified in Appendix 6. 
These range site numbers given in Appendix 6 cor- 
respond with the range site descriptions in Appen- 
dix 7. 

As livestock and many wildlife species tend to 
congregate on riparian sites, these sites are invari- 
ably closely utilized under any stocking rate or 
system of grazing. Continuous grazing can result in 
reduced diversity and quality of this important vege- 
tative type through soil compaction, increased sedi- 
mentation, reduced water quality, and curtailed re- 
production of such species as willows and cotton- 
woods. 

However, based on the journals of Lewis and 
Clark, and photographs taken near the turn of the 
century, there does not appear to be a significant 
difference in the distribution or extent of the riparian 
communities except, for example, where the Mis- 
souri River has through time altered its course 
slightly, thereby eliminating some communities 
while at the same time establishing new ones. Ad- 
ditionally, dams have contributed to the reduction of 
some communities along the river by eliminating 
seasonal high waters. Occasional flooding provided 
for the maintenance of riparian zones further back 
from the main channel than in some cases, what 
exists today. 



Existing Livestock Forage Productivity 



Construction of the proposed range improve- 
ments would remove approximately 17,300 acres 
from production. About 2,000 of these acres would 
be permanently removed by such projects as wells, 
reservoirs, and cattleguards. The balance, or about 
15,300 acres, would be temporarily lost due to the 



3-8 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



vegetation manipulation projects, i.e., contour fur- 
rowing, sagebrush spraying, and plowing and seed- 
ing. Recovery rates for the temporarily removed 
acres would be closely related to precipitation with 
an average recovery time of two to three years for 
the ES area. 

Contour furrowing is being proposed on 2,253 
acres where fine-textured soils inhibit infiltration and 
runoff. About 1,200 acres are in the Upper Long 
Coulee Allotment, 280 acres in the Whiskey Ridge 
Allotment, 673 acres in the Blind Canyon Allotment, 
and 100 acres in the Buffington Range Allotment. 
Whitfield and Fly (1939), Dickson et al. (1940), and 
Barnes and Nelson (1945) reported that contour 
furrowing resulted in significant increases in forage 
production on deteriorated rangeland. Brown and 
Everson (1952) observed that contour furrows in 
Arizona retained their effectiveness even after 10 
years. 

On the other hand, Hubbard and Smoliak (1953) 
observed that furrows were of no value for holding 
or spreading water in Alberta, Canada, because 
they became filled with ice and snow. Nor did fur- 
rowing increase plant production on sandy soils in 
New Mexico (Valentine 1947). 

The effects of contour furrowing were measured 
in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New 
Mexico, and Arizona (Branson et al. 1966). The 
most consistent beneficial response occurred on 
medium to fine-textured soils, and the Nuttall salt- 
bush sites showed the most improvement in forage 
production. 

A series of studies conducted in eastern Mon- 
tana (White and Siddoway 1 972) indicated that fal- 
lowing and contour furrowing effectively removed or 
reduced club moss, threadleaf sedge, and cactus. 
Reinvasion of the treated areas by more productive 
climax species such as western and thickspike 
wheatgrass usually occurred within a year. 

The short term impact from furrowing would be 
the removal of 2,253 acres from production for at 
least one year following treatment. After native 
plant species became established, the long term 
impact would be at least a doubling of available 
forage on the treated site (Brown and Everson 
1952, Dickson et al. 1940, Thatcher 1966). 

Sagebrush spraying is proposed on 2,236 acres 
of relatively flat land with low erosion potential in 
the Hay Coulee Common Allotment. The spraying 
operation is proposed in conjunction with a four- 
pasture rest rotation grazing formula to reverse the 
deteriorating trend on the allotment and to get 
better forage production balance between pastures. 
This allotment also has two seasonal pastures. By 
spraying two of the six pastures, the short term 
impact would be the loss of grazing on these pas- 



tures for two or three years. The long term impact 
from sagebrush control would be at least a dou- 
bling of grass production (Sturges 1973), and would 
more evenly balance productivity among all pas- 
tures in the Hay Coulee Common Allotment. 

After sagebrush control, the moisture normally 
withdrawn by sagebrush becomes available to 
other plants, or enters a ground water system and 
eventually augments streamflow. Sturges (1973) re- 
ported that grass production increased 20 percent 
on a sagebrush spray project in Wyoming, but the 
combined grass-forb production was similar to the 
untreated range since the decrease in forb produc- 
tion on sprayed plots was offset by increased grass 
production. The implication is that wildlife species 
such as antelope and sage grouse that utilize sig- 
nificant amounts of sagebrush and forbs would lose 
some forage initially, but by breaking up large 
monotype sagebrush stands into islands and string- 
ers of sagebrush scattered throughout a grassland 
dominated landscape, the long term impact would 
be beneficial. Likewise, the increased forage pro- 
duction would benefit grazing animals. 

Eleven allotments are involved in the proposed 
plowing and seeding operation. The 10,850 acres 
proposed for treatment were selected because of 
the lack of desirable forage plants that could re- 
spond to intensive grazing management in a rea- 
sonable period of time. In order to maximize forage 
productivity and soil stability in the shortest time- 
frame possible, vegetation manipulations reducing 
the less desirable plant species while increasing 
desirable forage species is often necessary. 

The short term impact of plowing and seeding 
would be the loss of livestock grazing on the treat- 
ed land for at least one year. The long term impact 
would be a change in species composition toward 
more livestock forage species. Forage production 
could at least triple (Hurst 1976, Buckhouse and 
Gifford 1976, page 300), and vegetative density 
could increase by at least 40 percent. This is fur- 
ther supported by seedings conducted on Bank- 
head-Jones lands in the early forties within the ES 
area. After 35 years, these seeded acres are still 
rated at about 1.5 acres per AUM, whereas compa- 
rable unseeded acres in the ES area are rated at 
approximately 4.5 acres per AUM. 



Projected and Potential Livestock 
Forage Productivity 



Estimates of 15-year projected livestock forage 
production shown in Table 3-4 and Appendix 6 
were made by first estimating the expected change 
in range condition by condition class and range 



3-9 



Landform 
Area 



TABLE 3-4 
Livestock Forage on BLM Lands 
Within Proposed AMPs 1/ 



Range 
Survey 



Licensed 
Use 



Proposed 
With 
AMP 



Projected 
With 
AMP 



2/ 



V 

Average- 
Potential 
Livestock 

Forage 
Estimate 



Rolling 












Plains 


142,553 


136,609 


135,031 


146,516 


252,959 


River- 


1 










breaks 


85,125 


81,367 


80,091 


86,472 


123,073 


• 4/ 
Mountains— 


827 


808 


768 


911 


1,572 


Total-/ 


288,505 


218,784 


215,890 


233,899 


377,604 



1/ Expressed in AUMs. This data is based on an estimated 1,000 pounds 
forage per AUM. 

2/ AMP projections are for 15 years. 

3/ Potential productivity estimates are based on pounds total forage per 
acre for individual soil series, as estimated by the U.S. Soil Conserva- 
tion Service. 

4/ In the absence of potential livestock forage productivity data on an 
individual soil basis for the mountains landform area, the figure of 7 
acres per AUM was used, as given in "Vegetative Rangeland Types," 
Bulletin 671, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Bozeman, Montana, 
April 1973. 

5/ These summaries are for BLM acreage within allotments with proposed 
allotment management plans, and do not include existing or revised 
allotments in the respective landform areas. 



3-10 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



site. Next, the SCS Technicians' Guides were used 
to help determine the change in livestock productiv- 
ity (see Appendix 1, 10-14 inch precipitation zone, 
poor condition = .1 AUM per acre or 10 acres per 
AUM as compared to excellent condition = .4 
AUMs per acre or 2.5 acres per AUM). In addition, 
these projections were tempered with past experi- 
ence on the 52 existing AMPs. This procedure was 
used to determine 1 5-year livestock forage produc- 
tivity levels at the year 2000 with AMPs (7 percent 
increase) and at the year 2000 without AMPs (5 
percent decrease). 

Average potential livestock forage productivity 
was determined for each soil series within the ES 
area from data supplied by the U.S. Soil Conserva- 
tion Service (SCS). Productivity aggregation was 
made for each general association of soil series 
based upon the percent areal composition of soil 
series within each soil association. These estimates 
are shown for proposed AMPs in Table 3-4. The 
figures in Table 3-4 are not consistent with Tables 
1-2 and 8-1 as these two tables deal with the 
combined totals for the proposed, existing, and re- 
vised AMPs. 

Overall, 15-year livestock forage projections with 
AMP implementation are well within average poten- 
tial production estimates. Within 43 allotments (see 
Appendix 4) involving 331,329 acres and including 
169,720 acres of public land, 15-year projections 
with AMP implementation exceed average potential 
livestock forage estimates by a total of 6,442 AUMs 
or 22 percent. Within 12 allotments involving 
101,014 acres and including 46,613 acres of public 
land, these differences are quite small and not sta- 
tistically significant-none exceed 10 percent of the 
potential. 

Where potential livestock productivity calcula- 
tions were based on detailed soil survey data, sig- 
nificantly higher 15-year projections were made for 
10 allotments involving 80,053 acres, of which 
46,388 acres are public lands. These 15-year pro- 
jections were larger than average potential live- 
stock forage productivity estimates by 1,661 AUMs 
or 18 percent. 

General soil association data were utilized to 
calculate potential livestock forage productivity for 
21 allotments involving 150,262 acres, of which 
76,719 acres are public lands, where 15-year pro- 
jections were larger than potential estimates by 
4,397 AUMs of 42 percent. Mapping units were 
very broad, with entire allotments frequently cov- 
ered by one or two soil associations. Productivity 
estimates based upon these soil associations have 
low reliability, because of the large mapping units 
utilized for this general level soil survey. 



Within these areas, however, 5 allotments in- 
volving 8,144 acres, and including 18,845 acres of 
public land, also contained greater than 1 percent 
of the land areas in critical to severe erosion condi- 
tion. Within these allotments, long term forage pro- 
jections with AMP implementation exceeded aver- 
age potential productivity estimates by 1,187 AUMs 
or 55 percent. A detailed soil survey would better 
clarify the significance of these differences, and 
their impact upon the forage and watershed re- 
sources. 



Range Condition and Trend 



Table 3-5, which is a summary of Appendix 6, 
compares the existing and predicted long term 
vegetation production in animal unit months (AUMs) 
by the year 2000 if the proposed action is imple- 
mented. Also shown in this table is the existing 
range condition by vegetative type for each allot- 
ment and the projected range condition by the year 
2000. 

The proposed grazing systems and range im- 
provements are expected to have the following 
long term impacts on condition and trend: improved 
plant vigor, increased litter accumulation, increased 
number of established plants (vegetative density), 
as well as increased percentage composition of key 
species. These individual plant responses would 
result in increased forage production. With in- 
creased litter and plant diversity, ranges in excel- 
lent condition can take in up to three times as 
much water as poor condition range (Rauzi and 
Hanson 1966). 

A study conducted in a ponderosa pine-bunch- 
grass zone by McLean and Tisdale (1972) in British 
Columbia found that it took longer for vegetation to 
progress from poor to fair condition than from fair 
to good condition when protected from livestock 
grazing. The same findings were also reported by 
Owensby et al. (1973) in a study in Kansas where 
little change in plant composition occurred on poor 
condition ranges within the first 10 years following 
fencing. In the Kansas study, they estimated it 
would take at least 40 years for overgrazed range 
to recover to excellent condition when fully rested. 
This study took place in an annual precipitation 
zone of about 25 inches, in rough fescue and pine- 
bunchgrass vegetative types. Most of the ES area 
is in an annual precipitation zone of 10 to 14 
inches. Therefore, it could be assumed that the 
recovery period in the ES area could be 40 years or 
longer for range in poor condition to improve to 
good condition. Especially as livestock will continue 
to graze the area, the recovery period will be longer 
than for an area provided complete protection from 



3-11 



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3-12 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



livestock. For this reason, the year 2020 was used 
initially for projecting range condition changes 
through intensive livestock management. In order 
to show range condition shifts by the year 2000 
(the analytical timeframe used throughout this as- 
sessment), the methodology shown in Appendix 10 
was used. 

By the year 2000, it is estimated that there 
would be 24,000 additional AUMs (7 percent in- 
crease from the existing) of livestock forage pro- 
duced on those allotments either presently covered 
by a management plan or that would be a part of 
this proposal (Table 3-5). The greatest condition 
class increase is from good to excellent (Table 3- 
5), which coincides with the findings of McLean and 
Tisdale (1972) and Smith and Williams (1973). 
These estimates are based on professional judg- 
ment, trend data on 39 allotments presently under 
an AMP that have gone through at least one graz- 
ing cycle, and literature covering similar range man- 
agement practices (see Appendix 10). 

The factors that most influence or determine the 
ability of rangeland condition to improve are weath- 
er, predominant soil and vegetation types on the 
range site, and the livestock grazing system im- 
posed on the range site. Nothing can be done 
about the weather, nor can soil types be changed, 
but the soil profile can be modified (by contour 
furrowing, for example) to increase water retention. 
Vegetation can be altered using techniques such as 
spraying or plowing. The influence of livestock on 
both soils and vegetation can be manipulated 
through a prescribed grazing system to accomplish 
specific objectives and needs for a particular area. 

In order to project the future range condition 
within the ES area if the proposed action were 
implemented, a system was devised in consultation 
with the Soil Conservation Service, Lewistown Area 
Office, in an attempt to account for the variability in 
soils, vegetation, range improvements, and grazing 
systems, and their relative influence on range con- 
dition. Table 3-6 is the product of this discussion. 
The major factors considered in the derivation of 
this table are explained below. 

To use the table, the predominant soil type for 
the range site is obtained from the range site de- 
scriptions in Appendix 7. The percent potential for 
change for the soil type is multiplied by the grazing 
system percent potential for change, which is then 
multiplied by the number of acres in each condition 
class. The one exception would be for poor and fair 
condition grass, conifer, sagebrush, and mountain 
shrub ranges. For these situations, the product of 
the soil type times grazing system is first multiplied 
by 20 percent before multiplying by the number of 
acres. 



Soils vary greatly in their capability to grow cer- 
tain kinds and amounts of vegetation. Significant 
soil determinants include moisture absorption and 
storage, fertility, essential element balance, pH, and 
soluble salt concentration. The soils were ranked 
according to their potential to produce livestock 
forage. Silty and clayey soils were considered best, 
followed by the riverbreaks range site, which is 
actually a composite of many soil types too small to 
delineate on the range site map (Map 2-4). Next, in 
order of potential productivity, were shallow clay, 
dense clay, saline upland, and badlands (Table 3- 
6). 

Grazing systems were ranked by their potential 
influence on range condition. A study of the influ- 
ence of grazing systems on soils and vegetation 
conducted in the ES area from June through Sep- 
tember 1977 by Willard and Herman (1977) indicat- 
ed that generally, rest rotation grazing allowed for 
better vigor of key forage species, faster soil water 
infiltration, more litter, reduced amounts of plains 
pricklypear, and greater production of desirable 
forage grasses. Only winter grazing allowed for 
better soil and plant condition that did rest rotation 
grazing. Conversely, they reported that season long 
grazing was the most detrimental to soil and plant 
conditions. 

Similar findings were reported by Owensby et al. 
(1973) in Kansas, and Smith (1940) in Oklahoma. 
Martin (1973), reporting on a study conducted in 
southern Arizona, indicated that spring-summer rest 
two years out of three increased perennial grasses 
more than continuous year-long grazing or any of 
13 other rest schedules. Reardon and Merrill 
(1976), reporting on a 20-year study in Texas, sug- 
gested that deferred rotation allows the better 
forage plants to become more vigorous and numer- 
ous than continuous grazing. 

Continuous grazing has been found to work 
best, or as well as any system of deferment, where 
plenty of range is available (proper stocking rate) 
and the range is in excellent condition (Rogler 
1951; Hyder and Sawyer 1951). On the other hand, 
it is almost unanimously agreed that when grass- 
lands are grazed heavily and continuously through- 
out the year, every year, the original palatable spe- 
cies are replaced by inedible or unpalatable species 
(Smith 1940). There are 72 allotments with about 
604,000 acres that would have seasonal grazing 
under the proposed action. There are also about 
31,000 acres of unallotted lands, and 251,000 
acres of public lands within allotments where no 
AMPs are proposed. Season-long or continuous 
spring grazing on these lands could adversely 
affect plant vigor, reproduction, seedling establish- 
ment, litter accumulation, and soil stability. 



3-13 



Table 3-6 



The Relative Influence of Soil Type, Grazing System, 
and Vegetation Type on Range Condition 1/ 



Soil Type 
Silty clayey 
Riverbreaks 
Shallow clay 



Dense clay 
Saline upland 
Badlands 



Potential 
for Change 

100% 

75% 

50% 

20% 



Grazing 
System 

Fall-winter 

Rest rotation 

Deferred 
rotation 

Seasonal 



Potential 
for Change 

100% 

75% 

50% 



Vegetation 
Types 

Grass 
Conifer 
Sagebrush 
Mtn . shrub 



Greasewood 
Saltbush 
Annuals 
Meadow 



Potential 
for Change 

A maximum of 20% 
of poor and fair 
acres, and 100% 
of good acres 
can potentially 
improve one 
condition class. 

A maximum of 100% 
of all acres can 
potentially improve 
one condition class. 



1/ Initial range condition class shifts were developed for the year 2020 then 
adjusted back to the year 2000 based on the relationships discussed in detail 
in Appendix 10. 



3-14 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



The grazing systems presently in operation, and 
those that would be implemented by the proposed 
action, were ranked from high to low, based on 
their potential for influencing range conditions. The 
ranking was based on the previously discussed lit- 
erature, past experience, and professional opinions. 
Fall-winter grazing was rated the best as it would 
have the least adverse impact on existing vegeta- 
tion and would have the greatest potential for 
change. Fall-winter grazing is actually a form of 
seasonal grazing but as vegetal response to this 
form of grazing differs significantly from any other 
form of seasonal grazing, it was treated separately. 
Rest rotation was rated next best, followed by de- 
ferred rotation and seasonal (Table 3-6). A major 
factor influencing the ranking is that generally, sea- 
sonal grazing would be applied to allotments al- 
ready in good condition; therefore, less room for 
change exists. On the other hand, rest rotation 
would most often be applied to those allotments in 
the greatest need of improvement. 

Vegetation type was the other factor used in 
determining the projected change in range condi- 
tion if the proposed action is implemented. Grass, 
conifer, sagebrush, and mountain shrub types in 
either poor or fair condition are often dominated by 
plant communities that are very slow to change. 
Blue grama, club moss, and bluegrass in the moun- 
tain shrub and grass types frequently form dense 
stands or mats that effectively prevent other spe- 
cies from becoming established. Therefore, it was 
determined tnat only 20 percent of the total acre- 
age in fair or poor condition would be capable of 
moving up one condition class by the year 2020 
after the other factors were considered. These 
same vegetation types in good condition could all 
potentially change to excellent condition, depending 
on the soil and grazing system for a particular area. 

For the greasewood, saltbush, annual, and 
meadow vegetation types, no limitation was im- 
posed on their potential for improvement, regard- 
less of present condition class. Therefore, 100 per- 
cent of the acreage for these vegetation types 
could potentially move up one condition class. 

The 2,236 acres in poor and fair condition that 
are proposed to be sprayed were all projected to 
be in excellent condition by the year 2000. This is 
based on sagebrush spraying operations conducted 
within the ES area. For example, areas within the 
Bullwacker and Lavelle Creek Allotments, although 
sprayed about 14 years ago, are still considered in 
excellent condition with no noticeable decline in 
trend. However, no special adjustments were made 
for the proposed contour furrowing (2,253 acres) or 
plowing and seeding (10,850 acres) as the plant 
species that would be seeded have not yet been 
determined. If seedings were conducted with native 



species, the treated areas would be classified as 
good and excellent for the future projection. But if 
exotics such as crested wheatgrass were used, the 
treated areas could not be included in the range 
condition analysis because range condition is de- 
fined as the percentage of the present vegetation 
which is original vegetation for the site. Differences 
in range condition are recognized by comparing 
present vegetation with climax vegetation (Dykster- 
huis 1949, page 106). Therefore, as most acreage 
would undoubtedly be seeded with native species, 
range condition future projections are conservative. 



Poisonous and Noxious Plants 



A beneficial impact of improved range condition 
is that though the number of poisonous and nox- 
ious plants may go up or down, depending upon 
the grazing cycle and location, the opportunity for 
animal selection of poisonous plants may be re- 
duced because of a greater abundance of forage 
species from which to select. 

With the implementation of the proposed graz- 
ing systems, some toxic and noxious plants could 
decrease due to competition that would result be- 
cause of the increase in plant density and ground 
cover of the more desirable forage species. 

At sites temporarily disturbed by new project 
construction, noxious species such as Canada this- 
tle, leafy spurge, dalmation toad flax, field bind- 
weed, Russian knapweed, and many of the poison- 
ous plants listed in Table 2-11 would tend to 
become established if these sites are not promptly 
rehabilitated. New water developments in areas 
that are presently only lightly grazed, if at all, could 
also be invaded by these undesirable species as 
cattle tend to congregate at these sites, grazing 
and trampling out the desirable forage species. 

A more specific impact assessment of the poi- 
sonous and noxious plants cannot be made as spe- 
cific densities and distributions are not known. 



Threatened and Endangered Plants 



As discussed in Chapter 2, only four species are 
recognized as potentially endangered in Montana, 
and they are all on the western side of the state. 
The species Rorippa calycena, which could possi- 
bly be found within the ES area and is considered 
potentially threatened, could be impacted by the 
proposed action. However, the likelihood of this 
occurring from the proposed action is slight as live- 
stock have historically grazed this area, and no 



3-15 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



areas previously physically inaccessible will be 
opened to livestock by the proposal. 

There are, however, areas that are presently 
only lightly grazed where new water developments 
are proposed. As livestock will tend to concentrate 
around these areas Rorippa calycena, if located in 
the area, could be adversely affected. 



The likelihood of adversely impacting any offi- 
cially recognized threatened or endangered plant 
species is remote. 



WILDLIFE 



Summary of Impacts to Vegetation 



Continuous spring and summer livestock use of 
the seasonal and non-AMP allotments and unallot- 
ted lands in fair or poor range condition could po- 
tentially cause decreases in key species vigor, re- 
production, litter accumulation, and seedling estab- 
lishment. Fall and winter grazing only would have 
the least impact on vegetation and, with the possi- 
ble exception of no livestock grazing, would en- 
hance range condition the quickest. 

The allotments having proposed or existing rest, 
deferred, or fall-winter grazing systems would en- 
hance range condition and productivity the most 
expeditiously as each pasture in an allotment would 
not be grazed at the same time each year, or, in 
the case of fall-winter grazing, would never be 
grazed during the critical growing period. By the 
year 2000, there is a projected 7 percent increase 
of forage produced on those allotments that either 
are presently covered by a management plan or 
are a part of this proposal. By the year 2020, it is 
estimated that there would be a 51 percent in- 
crease (603,000 acres) of rangeland in excellent 
condition, with a 16 percent reduction (6,000 acres) 
of rangeland in poor condition (see Appendix 10). 

Construction of the proposed range improve- 
ments would remove about 17,319 acres from pro- 
duction in the short term. In the long term, about 
1,980 of these acres would permanently be re- 
moved for the life of the projects. The proposed 
contour furrowing, sagebrush spraying, and plowing 
and seeding projects would reduce many of the 
poisonous and noxious plant species densities and 
would increase productivity. 

With implementation of the proposed action, a 
reduction of poisonous and noxious plants through- 
out the ES area is anticipated because of increased 
desirable forage species plant density. However, 
there would most likely be an increase in undesira- 
ble species at some new water development sites 
as livestock concentrations would graze and tram- 
ple the present cover, with varying amounts of rest 
prescribed for vegetation recovery. 



The overall impact of the proposed action on 
the wild life resources of the ES area would gener- 
ally be favorable but, with possible local exceptions, 
too small to be measured by available census tech- 
niques. A major part of the benefits to wildlife 
would derive from the wildlife considerations (fence 
and reservoir locations, number of pastures, etc.) 
built into each AMP. Additional benefits would 
result from increased forage production. 

There is some indication that increasingly uni- 
form grazing pressure made possible by water de- 
velopments and fencing would have an impact on 
many species of wildlife analogous to the impact of 
intensive farming on many small game populations. 
Data at present are insignificant to conclude, how- 
ever, that this problem would outweigh the benefits 
to wildlife of the proposed action. 

By the year 2000, it is anticipated that forage 
available for livestock on public lands in the ES 
area would increase from 294,000 AUMs to 
316,400 AUMs or about 7 percent above current 
licensed use (Table 1-2). Since it is assumed that 
available livestock forage would decrease 5 percent 
by the year 2000 without the proposed action (see 
Chapter 3, Procedures and Assumptions), the live- 
stock AUM increase attributable to the proposed 
action is actually about 12 percent. Forage availa- 
ble for wildlife and other uses-60 to 70 percent of 
total available forage (Table 1-1)~would also be 
increased about 1 2 percent by the proposed action 
during this period. Depending upon the extent to 
which a lack of forage or vegetation is a limiting 
factor for wildlife, some wildlife populations would 
increase as a result of this improvement. However, 
it would be unlikely that any given wildlife species 
would increase as much as 12 percent in response 
to a 12 percent increase in available forage. A 6 
percent increase, or even less, would be more 
likely. Since annual fluctuations of wildlife popula- 
tions are often much greater than 6 percent (more 
like 10 to 50 percent), and given the difficulty of 
estimating wildlife populations accurately, any long 
term areawide increase from forage increases and 
built-in wildlife considerations would be undetecta- 
ble. 

Available forage is not the only consideration, 
however. Some wildlife species would be locally 
reduced and others increased by successional 



3-16 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



changes as range condition improves. For example, 
the successional advancement of grassland types 
generally leads to an increase in grasses and a 
reduction in shrubs--a situation that could be detri- 
mental to big game (Wagner 1976). However, other 
species would benefit from these changes, and to 
the extent the proposed action helps to solve envi- 
ronmental problems such as erosion and siltation, 
wildlife populations would generally benefit. 

Some of the proposed range improvements 
(Table 1-5 in Chapter 1) as contrasted with the 
overall impact of the proposed action, would gener- 
ally have a negative impact on wildlife. An addition- 
al 551 miles of fence within the ES area would 
have a minor negative impact on big game popula- 
tions, particularly mule deer. This fencing would be 
distributed among more than half of the 277 pro- 
posed and revised AMPs (Appendix 2) and would 
cross representative portions of all the habitat 
types delineated on Maps 2-6 to 2-11. All fences 
impede the natural movements of big game to a 
degree, and injury or death can occur if they 
become entangled in fence wire. Entanglement 
often occurs when animals are weak due to stress- 
es such as winter starvation and are unable to jump 
high enough. Although data are not available, esti- 
mates for other areas (U.S. Department of the Inte- 
rior, Bureau of Land Management 1977b and 
1977c) indicate that 10 to 30 big game animals 
would die annually from entanglement with these 
proposed fences. This would not significantly 
impact any big game population. 

The 436 reservoirs that are proposed would 
benefit aquatic wildlife, including ducks and geese, 
particularly where islands are included in the reser- 
voir design. However, biologists who have per- 
formed research within the ES area are of the opin- 
ion that big game populations (elk, mule deer, and 
antelope) and their distribution are not influenced 
by the availability of artificial water sources (Mackie 
1970; Jones 1978, personal communication; and 
Pyrah 1978, personal communication). In some 
cases, the redistribution of cattle may benefit ter- 
restrial wildlife by relieving cattle grazing pressure 
on important habitats. However, water development 
can be quite detrimental particularly to mule deer 
when it occurs in coulees near the terminal portions 
of larger ridges or near smaller ridges where the 
area available for cattle dispersal on primary range 
types is limited (Mackie 1970 and 1978). Many of 
the 206 reservoirs planned for the riverbreaks por- 
tion of the ES area fall in this category. It has also 
been shown that sharp-tailed grouse may be ad- 
versely affected by grazing redistributions achieved 
through reservoir development (Brown, undated). 

At least some of the proposed vegetation treat- 
ments (Table 1-5 and Appendix 2) would have sig- 



nificant local negative impacts on sage grouse, 
mule deer, and probably antelope. All of the sage- 
brush spraying (2,236 acres) would take place in 
the Hay Coulee Allotment (#6182) and almost all of 
the area scheduled for spraying is either crucial 
winter habitat for sage grouse or high value year 
round habitat for mule deer or both (Maps 2-6 and 
2-11). A reduction of the present sagebrush crown 
density would be particularly detrimental to sage 
grouse reproductive and winter requirements (Wal- 
lestad 1975). Mule deer would be impacted by the 
reduction of an important forage source. 

About 90 percent of the scheduled 10,850 acres 
of plowing and seeding would take place in the 
east pasture of the East Indian Butte Allotment 
(#2001)--an important sage grouse area (Map 2- 
11). Impacts would be similar to those described for 
Hay Coulee (above). 

In some areas, the proposed vegetation treat- 
ments would be beneficial to wildlife. For example, 
contour furrowing proposed for sparsely vegetated 
areas along Sage Creek in the Shotgun Coulee 
Allotment (#5434) would improve habitat conditions 
generally. However, if treatments occur in important 
habitats for sage grouse or antelope, local popula- 
tions can be severely reduced by the loss of 
needed shrub species (Wallestad 1975, Martinka 
1967, and Bayless 1969). There is evidence that in 
some cases antelope avoid areas that have been 
contour furrowed because the ground disturbance 
makes it difficult for them to use their primary 
escape mechanism, running (Pyrah 1978, personal 
communication). However, antelope and other 
game species have been observed to use treated 
areas, particularly where forbs have been en- 
hanced, and species such as horned larks that 
prefer grass habitats over shrub habitats will benefit 
from shrub control. Of the 13,000 acres proposed 
for contour furrowing or plowing and seeding, 350 
acres are on sites identified as being high value 
antelope habitat. 



Mule Deer 



The impacts of the proposed action on mule 
deer would depend mostly on any changes in graz- 
ing intensity on critical mule deer winter or year 
long ranges. Increased forage production would 
benefit mule deer by reducing livestock pressure on 
mule deer food sources particularly browse species 
such as sagebrush and snowberry. As mentioned 
above, water developments could be detrimental to 
mule deer if they attracted livestock into mule deer 
habitats that were previously unused or lightly used 
by livestock. Although sufficient information to pre- 



3-17 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



diet mule deer impacts is not available, there could 
be significant local reductions. 



White-tailed Deer 



White-tailed deer would benefit slightly from the 
proposed action compared to a continuation of the 
present situation. However, the white-tailed deer is 
often dependent on riparian habitats. Because the 
existing and proposed grazing systems generally do 
not provide full protection of riparian areas, and 
because of the tendancy of livestock to use these 
areas heavily despite stocking reductions (Hormay 
1976), many of these areas would improve only 
slightly and most, if not all, would remain far below 
their potential for white-tailed deer and other wild- 
life. Nevertheless, the whitetail will probably, at 
least in the short term (1 to 4 years), continue to 
expand its range gradually due to its exceptional 
adaptability to man's agricultural and other activities 
(Walcheck 1978). 



Antelope 

Antelope populations would probably remain 
about stable as a result of the proposed action 
(Figure 3-1). Improved forage conditions, and slight- 
ly reduced stocking rates, would have a favorable 
impact on antelope but as mentioned above, the 
contour furrowing, plowing and seeding, and sage- 
brush spraying could be detrimental locally. There 
have been observations that indicate that livestock 
can be detrimental to antelope through behavioral 
disturbance and utilization of preferred forage, par- 
ticularly forbs (Pyrah 1978, personal communica- 
tion). If, because of system failure or other reasons, 
the proposed action led to increased livestock use 
of antelope ranges, reductions in antelope popula- 
tions would occur. The 551 miles of fence pro- 
posed would have a negative but probably not sig- 
nificant impact on antelope. 



Nevertheless, the mobility and larger home ranges 
of elk compared to mule deer and antelope enable 
elk to seek out areas where forage conditions are 
optimum and take advantage of improved forage 
conditions that result from deferred and rest rota- 
tion grazing systems. However, as explained in 
Chapter 2, habitat condition is generally not a limit- 
ing factor for elk in the ES area. Thus, elk popula- 
tions would not be expected to increase. 



Bighorn Sheep 



The current population of less than 10 bighorn 
sheep at the west end of the Charles M. Russell 
National Wildlife Refuge (Map 2-9) does not extend 
out of the Wildlife Refuge (Eichhorn 1978, personal 
communication). If the population were to expand 
into adjacent allotments, it could be impacted by 
the proposed action. Bighorn sheep and cattle 
compete heavily because of similar food habitats. 
Although they would benefit somewhat from in- 
creased available forage, these bighorns would not 
be apt to expand significantly under the proposed 
grazing program because of the apparent difficulty 
of producing bighorn sheep and cattle on the same 
land. There are no AMPs near the bighorn sheep in 
the Little Rocky Mountains. 



Wild Horses 



Although no forage has been specifically allo- 
cated to the small wild or semi-wild horse popula- 
tion delineated on Map 2-9, they would receive 
some benefit from improved vegetation conditions if 
the grazing plans for the allotments in that area 
were successful. The 15 miles of fence proposed 
for the Ervin Ridge and Black Butte Allotments (#'s 
6212 and 6211) would restrict the movement of the 
horses. However, the number of horses in this band 
(about 30) is not expected to be affected. 



Elk 



Some of the allotments where elk occur, par- 
ticularly in the Willow Creek Planning Unit, are 
grazed in the fall and winter and are already in 
excellent condition. Others are expected to experi- 
ence forage increases from proposed rest rotation 
grazing systems. Several authors (Knowles 1975 
and Mackie 1970) have noted that elk seldom 
occupy a pasture simultaneously with livestock. 



Mountain Lions and Furbearers 



The impact on mountain lions and furbearers 
such as coyotes, weasels, and skunks would vary 
depending on the response of small mammals to 
changes in vegetation conditions (see below). Any 
changes in the populations of these predators 
would be small. Beavers and muskrats would gen- 
erally be unaffected by the proposed action al- 
though improved watershed conditions would mar- 
ginally improve habitat conditions for these species, 



3-18 



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Figure 



3-1 Antelope. These important big game animals would benefit slightly from improved forage 
conditions and reduced stocking rates. However, because of local vegetative impacts from land 
treatments and fences, populations are expected to remain aboufstable. 



3-19 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



and some muskrats would be expected to inhabit 
the new reservoirs which are planned. 



Small Mammals 



The response of small mammals to increased 
amounts of cover and available forage as a result 
of the proposed action would be varied. Voles and 
pocket mice which rely heavily on plant material for 
food would be expected to increase while deer 
mice and harvest mice which use less plant food 
and are more adapted to sparsely vegetated areas 
would probably decrease (Black 1968 and Moore 
1978, personal communication). Other rodents such 
as pocket gophers and Richardson ground squirrels 
seem to favor heavily grazed sites and may also 
decrease. 

Small mammal populations would be locally de- 
stroyed by the construction of reservoirs and other 
range improvements, but the overall impact on this 
group within the ES area would be insignificant. 
Although Tschache (1970) was unable to demon- 
strate changes in small mammal populations one 
year following sagebrush spraying, it is likely that 
this and other land treatments (contour furrowing, 
plowing and seeding) would cause some small 
mammal populations to increase and others to de- 
crease. Reestablishment of existing populations 
would be expected as habitats changed through 
succession back to their pre-treatment condition. 
This could take several decades. 



Sharp-tailed Grouse 



The proposed action would probably result in at 
least local reductions of sharp-tailed grouse (Figure 
3-2). It has been well established that residual 
vegetation is an important limiting factor for sharp- 
tail (Brown 1978). Rest and deferred rotation graz- 
ing systems increase residual vegetation. It is con- 
tended (Brown undated) that over the centuries 
sharptails have evolved the trait of moving to favor- 
able areas created by revegetation following distur- 
bances, such as fire, and that this trait may enable 
them to utilize temporary sources of residual vege- 
tation. However, recent studies in Phillips County 
indicate that sharptails do not move into rest pas- 
tures where nesting conditions presumably would 
be better (Nielsen 1978). Also, the 391 reservoirs 
proposed would tend to even out the distribution of 
grazing pressure within the ES area. Overall, this is 
likely to be detrimental to sharptails as studies 
(Brown undated) have indicated that conditions for 
sharptails are most favorable in the dry ends of 



pastures where there is more residual vegetation. 
These new reservoirs would generally bring cattle 
into areas where they would reduce this residual 
vegetation. 



Sage Grouse 

The proposed action would have local negative 
impacts on sage grouse (as explained above) but 
they would not be significantly reduced throughout 
the ES area. Improvements in forage conditions 
produced by the proposed action could be of some 
benefit. 



Pheasants and Hungarian Partridge 



The proposed action may benefit pheasants and 
Hungarian partridge but the impacts would be very 
small. Pheasants depend heavily upon riparian 
habitats but only minor improvements in riparian 
habitats are anticipated. Hungarian partridge would 
benefit some by increased residual cover, particu- 
larly in rest pastures adjacent to agricultural land. 



Merriam's Turkey and Mountain 
Grouse 



These species would also benefit slightly from 
the proposed action, but no increases large enough 
to be measured by available techniques are antici- 
pated. Mussehl (1963) demonstrated that blue 
grouse require residual grass cover for nesting. 
Ruffed grouse and turkey would also benefit from 
generally improved vegetation conditions. The 
spruce grouse would not be affected by the AMPs 
in the ES area. 



Waterfowl 



Waterfowl would probably be benefited more 
than any other species group by implementation of 
the proposed action. The construction of 436 new 
reservoirs would provide additional breeding and 
migration stopover habitat. Increases in waterfowl 
habitat are important because of the continuing 
drainage of wetland habitats throughout North 
America. 

Gjersing (1975) observed a maximum produc- 
tion of nine birds to flight stage per acre of surface 
water on stockwater ponds within rest rotation graz- 



3-20 




Figure 3-2 At least local reductions in sharp-tailed grouse populations are likely because of this bird's apparent 
inability to take advantage of temporary increases in residual vegetation produced through rest and 
deferred rotation grazing. 



3-21 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



ing systems in the vicinity of Malta north of the ES 
area. Because most of the ES area, particularly the 
riverbreaks portion where 206 of the reservoirs 
would be located, is not as productive for waterfowl 
as Gjersing's study area and because only 83 of 
the AMPs would be under rest rotation grazing sys- 
tems (which Gjersing found to benefit waterfowl 
production due to increased residual nesting cover), 
production on the ES area would be about two 
birds per surface acre. Assuming an average reser- 
voir size of 3 acres, about 2,600 ducks would be 
produced annually by the reservoirs. 

If islands are constructed on the larger reser- 
voirs (3 acres or more), some geese would also be 
produced. It has been demonstrated that after four 
years, about 57 percent of the waterfowl islands 
constructed in this area (excluding the timbered 
breaks) are used by nesting geese (Eng, Jones, 
and Gjersing 1978, in press). Shorebirds would also 
benefit from the new reservoirs. Rundquist (1973) 
observed the use of reservoirs by 28 species of 
shorebirds (several of which were nesting) along 
the northern edge of the ES area. 



Raptors and Other Non-Game Birds 



ES areawide populations of raptors and other 
non-game birds would not likely be impacted signifi- 
cantly by the proposed action. Any raptor response 
will be primarily due to population changes of small 
mammals and other prey species (see section on 
small mammals). 

Local changes in vegetation would benefit some 
non-game bird populations and reduce others. For 
example, land treatments that involve sagebrush 
removal would reduce Brewer's sparrows and 
vesper sparrows (Best 1972), while horned larks, 
which prefer open habitats, would probably in- 
crease. 



Reptiles and Amphibians 



No significant impacts on reptiles and amphib- 
ians are anticipated. Amphibians and aquatic rep- 
tiles such as the snapping turtle would benefit from 
the construction of 436 reservoirs. To the extent 
that the proposed action improved watershed con- 
ditions, siltation and resulting problems such as suf- 
focation of amphibian eggs would be reduced. 



Fish 



It is not anticipated that the proposed action 
would significantly change conditions for fish. Im- 
pacts that are presently occurring would continue. 
Platts (1977) says, "Rest rotation grazing without 
special protective measures for the stream and 
streambanks will not maintain or restore a healthy 
productive riparian-aquatic zone." The proposed 
action does not include special protective measures 
for riparian habitat. 

Some of the reservoirs constructed would un- 
doubtedly be suitable for the stocking of fish. How- 
ever, many reservoirs already on public lands could- 
be stocked (Elser 1977). Thus, these 436 new res- 
ervoirs are not likely to affect sport fish populations 
within the ES area significantly since there is al- 
ready a surplus of reservoirs available for stocking. 

Improved vegetation conditions in the water- 
sheds that include fisheries reservoirs would benefit 
fish populations in several ways. The water would 
be clearer, allowing for better light penetration and 
food production. The reduced siltation would in- 
crease the life of the reservoirs which in some 
areas, notably south Valley County, can be as short 
as 15 years (Willow Creek Planning Unit, Unit Re- 
source Analysis). 



Invertebrates 



Although the relationship between grasshoppers 
and livestock grazing is not completely understood, 
it appears that grasshoppers prefer areas with low 
growing weeds and grasses and relatively sparse 
vegetation cover (Nerney 1957 and Anderson 
1964). Thus, grazing influences grasshopper distri- 
bution. Pastures grazed heavily during the rest rota- 
tion cycle may attract grasshoppers which could 
then put excessive demands on the vegetation. 
However, entomologists believe that although such 
conditions attract grasshoppers, they do not them- 
selves cause increases in grasshoppers, so there is 
at present no basis for saying that intensive grazing 
directly influences grasshopper populations over a 
large area such as the ES area. 



Threatened or Endangered Species 



No impact on the northern Rocky Mountain wolf 
is anticipated from the proposed action because (1) 
it is extremely unlikely that this species occurs in 
the ES area, and (2) as with other predators, the 



3-22 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



proposed action would only have a minor indirect 
effect on this species through its prey base. 

It is also unlikely that the proposed action would 
impact any black-footed ferret that might occur in 
the ES area since the proposed action does not 
involve the disturbance of any known prairie dog 
towns. As mentioned in Chapter 2, a complete 
survey of black-footed ferret habitat in eastern 
Montana will be initiated in the fall of 1978. If the 
presence of ferrets within the ES area is confirmed, 
appropriate actions to protect them and their habi- 
tat will be taken. However, the secretive nature of 
ferrets is such that even the intensive survey 
planned will not be sufficient to prove the absence 
of ferrets (Under and Hillmand 1973). This fact will 
have to be weighed in related management deci- 
sions. If after the survey the BLM determines that 
any of its actions may affect ferret populations or 
their habitat, formal consultation with the Fish and 
Wildlife Service will be initiated. 

No impact on whooping cranes is anticipated 
because utilization of any part of the ES area by 
whooping cranes is extremely unlikely. 

The only impact to the endangered peregrine 
falcon would be the possible disturbance of nesting 
areas during fence construction or fence removal 
along the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River. 
However, the Rocky Mountain/Southwestern Per- 
egrine Falcon Recovery Team has no evidence of 
current nesting activity by peregrines in the ES area 
(Craig 1978, personal communication). If peregrines 
are observed to nest in the area, all necessary 
steps to protect them, including consultation with 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be taken. 

There could be a slight benefit to the northern 
bald eagle if the proposed action eventually leads 
to increased livestock numbers within the ES area. 
With greater livestock numbers there would be 
more livestock carrion available for the eagles. 
That, plus carrion from any big game animals en- 
tangled in the proposed fences, could be of margin- 
al benefit to the eagles. 



Summary of Impacts to Wildlife 



Based on anticipated forage increases, an over- 
all increase of 6 percent in wildlife populations is 
predicted. There would be large variations from 
species to species and area to area. Overall 
changes would be too small to measure with availa- 
ble census techniques. 

About 2,600 ducks would be produced annually 
by the proposed reservoirs and geese and other 
water birds would also benefit. However, many of 



the new reservoirs would reduce mule deer and 
sharp-tailed grouse populations by increasing live- 
stock use of shrubs and residual cover in areas 
that were previously ungrazed or lightly grazed. At 
least some of the proposed vegetation treatments 
would have significant local negative impacts on 
sage grouse, mule deer, and probably antelope. 
The 551 miles of new fence would probably lead to 
the entanglement and death of 10 to 30 big game 
animals annually. No significant impacts on wild or 
semi-wild horses or threatened or endangered spe- 
cies are anticipated. Riparian habitats would im- 
prove only slightly. 



PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC 
FEATURES 



Prehistoric Features 



Several components of the proposed action 
would impact prehistoric features, if the locations of 
range management actions and prehistoric sites co- 
incide. The exact number of prehistoric sites which 
would be impacted is not known because the total 
area of each allotment has not been inventoried for 
such sites. However, the systematically done 
sample inventory discussed in Chapter 2 does 
allow some prediction of expected frequency of site 
occurrence per 640 acres in each planning unit 
(Table 2-14, Chapter 2), and, therefore, some idea 
of how many sites could be impacted. Given an 
optimistic estimate of overall site density amounting 
to two sites per 640 acres, the number of sites 
impacted by range improvements (which would dis- 
turb 17,244 acres) would be approximately 54. 
Other aspects of range management would affect 
an additional unknown number of sites. Livestock 
congregate near water, thus creating a greater 
trampling effect near reservoirs and in riparian habi- 
tats. Some sites inventoried and discussed in Chap- 
ter 2 showed damage from livestock trampling. 

It is difficult, if not impossible, to generalize 
these potential impacts. The effects of livestock 
grazing and of the various types of range improve- 
ments on prehistoric sites would be different. Some 
sites would be completely destroyed, while only 
minimal damage to others would occur. A further 
complicating factor in this analysis is that with the 
exception of the South Bearpaw Planning Unit in 
Blaine and Chouteau Counties, the site density esti- 
mations were generalized over the whole planning 
unit. Based on the South Bearpaw sampling which 
shows site density to be relatively high in grass- 
lands and river/creek bottom areas and much 



3-23 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



lower in broken country, it is highly probable that 
site densities differ in different ecozones throughout 
the ES area. 

The three major categories of range improve- 
ments are water developments, fences, and vege- 
tation manipulation (Table 1-5, Chapter I). The first 
category, water developments, would cause major 
impacts to prehistoric sites. With the exception of 
pipelines, each type would necessitate the removal 
and redistribution of significant amounts of soil. Be- 
cause the integrity of prehistoric sites depends on 
the preservation of prehistoric objects used by man 
and the preservation of their context (position rela- 
tive to one another), any soil disturbance could 
destroy this arrangement and make the site essen- 
tially meaningless. Only water pipelines would 
cause limited impacts. In this case, a very restricted 
amount of soil is disturbed during construction. 
Construction of a water pipeline could cause some 
destruction of prehistoric features, but would prob- 
ably not destroy a complete site. 

Vegetation manipulation includes contour fur- 
rowing, sagebrush spraying, and plowing and seed- 
ing. Contour furrowing and plowing and seeding 
both would require widespread ground alteration, 
and, therefore, for the same reasons discussed 
above under water developments, would be very 
destructive to prehistoric sites. Sagebrush spraying 
would have no direct effect on prehistoric sites. All 
vegetation manipulation sites would be rested from 
grazing until revegetation occurs. The impacts from 
livestock trampling in these areas should be re- 
duced by the resulting improved range condition. 

The category of range improvement with least 
impact on prehistoric sites would be fencing and 
associated construction of cattleguards. Only a 
small amount of ground should be disturbed by 
post hole digging, unless dirt work is needed to 
clear the fenceline. Cattleguard construction could 
be more destructive because more ground disturb- 
ance would be required. 

The impacts from livestock trampling would be 
highly variable. Buried deposits of prehistoric age 
may be uncovered by stream erosion, erosion 
along the shores of stockwater reservoirs, and are 
likely in the vicinity of springs. Livestock trampling 
around riparian habitats and reservoirs could de- 
stroy large areas containing prehistoric evidence. 
Where no active erosion is occurring, only surface 
exposed artifacts and features would be disturbed. 

The exact sites which could be disturbed or 
destroyed by construction of range improvements 
or cattle trampling are not yet known. Each site 
eventually located and facing disturbance should 
be evaluated for significance of the information it 
contains. It can be assumed that most prehistoric 



sites will contain some information of value. The 
significance of the impact then will depend on how 
much destruction would result from the type of 
range improvement. 

Except for construction crews during a short 
period of time when a range improvement is being 
implemented, no new population should be expect- 
ed on each allotment as a result of the proposed 
action. Therefore, impacts to prehistoric sites from 
amateur artifact collecting and vandalism should 
not increase over present levels. 

To summarize, about 54 prehistoric sites may 
experience impacts. That figure could be low or 
high, however, because base data from which the 
prediction was made consists of an extremely small 
sample generalized to planning unit boundaries. Be- 
cause the sites are not actually known at the pres- 
ent, significance of potential information loss 
cannot be measured. Water development, except- 
ing pipelines, and vegetation manipulation, except- 
ing sagebrush spraying, could completely destroy 
any prehistoric site which coincides with those pro- 
jects. Fence building would have a minor impact on 
prehistoric sites. Little increase in impacts from 
amateur collecting or vandalism would be expected. 



Historic Features 



Historic features would face many of the same 
impacts as the prehistoric features. No sampling 
has been conducted to evaluate historic sites, how- 
ever, and the number of sites which might be im- 
pacted is not known. 

Sites from the earlier historic periods: explora- 
tion, fur trade, and military (see Chapter 2) would 
be essentially similar to prehistoric archaeological 
sites, in that structures would probably be gone and 
archaeological techniques would be required to in- 
terpret artifacts and such features as fire hearths 
and building foundations. These sites would then 
depend on preservation of artifacts and their con- 
text (similar to prehistoric sites) to maintain their 
integrity. Therefore, water developments and vege- 
tation manipulation could be very destructive to 
such sites (except as for prehistoric sites, water 
pipelines and sagebrush spraying). 

The main features associated with later historic 
episodes, for example, ranching and homesteading, 
probably still exist as ruins or standing structures. 
These features are easily recognizable, but could 
be impacted if range improvements were built in 
such a way to cause their destruction. 

The areas of probable impacts to historic fea- 
tures can be localized for most historic eras. 



3-24 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Known early exploration of the ES area is associat- 
ed mainly with campsites along the Missouri River 
(Lewis and Clark Expedition). Major posts and other 
features associated with the fur trade should also 
be located along the Missouri River. Steamboat 
landings, steamboat wrecks, and woodhawkers' lo- 
cations would be in or near the Missouri River. 
Most military posts are similarly located along the 
river, with the exception of Fort Maginnis near 
Lewistown, and two sites of conflict with Chief 
Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians north of the 
Missouri. Because this portion of the Missouri has 
been classified wild, scenic, or recreational, and 
has as a major mandate the protection of cultural 
resources, it is doubtful that planning would allow 
the impact of these historic features by range man- 
agement practices. 

Other historic eras had features located away 
from the river and these could be impacted as 
outlined above. The possible impacted areas would 
include gold mining camps and features; aban- 
doned transportation features, such as railroad 
grades and facilities, stage stations, and freighting 
trails; buffalo hunting and bone collecting; ranch 
features, such as line camps, corrals, and shee- 
pherder monuments; and homestead features, in- 
cluding homes, outbuildings, and other traces of 
agriculture. 



National Register of Historic Places 



None of the sites listed in the Federal Register 
of February 7, 1978, would be affected by pro- 
posed range improvements. Thus, no impacts as a 
result of this federal undertaking would occur to 
these properties. 



Summary of Impacts to Prehistoric 
and Historic Features 

Minimal disturbance of prehistoric and historic 
features would occur due to the construction of 
range improvements and livestock trampling. Based 
on a sample inventory for prehistoric sites in the ES 
area, it is estimated that 54 sites would be dis- 
turbed by range improvements. An additional un- 
known number of prehistoric sites would be affect- 
ed by livestock trampling. No sampling has been 
conducted to evaluate historic sites and the number 
of sites impacted is not known. Detailed site inven- 
tories are required prior to initiation of ground dis- 
turbance; therefore, most sites would be avoided or 
the information contained in the sites salvaged. No 
known prehistoric or historic sites on or eligible for 



the National Register of Historic Places are affect- 
ed by the proposed action. 



VISUAL RESOURCES 



The Visual Resource Management (VRM) 
classes discussed in Chapter 2 and visual resource 
contrast ratings (Manual 6320) were used to pro- 
vide a basis for measuring impacts of the proposed 
action on the visual resources of the ES area. 

Most adverse visual impacts are associated with 
the range improvement projects proposed for im- 
plementation of the AMPs. These improvements 
could impact all four VRM classes present in the 
ES area. The severity of the impact would be di- 
rectly related to the VRM class in which the im- 
provement would occur (see Map 2-13, Chapter 2). 

Visual impact levels were derived for all range 
projects based on visual resource contrast ratings 
and corresponding VRM classes (see Table 3-7). 

The proximity of the viewer to the improvement 
influences the impact level or contrast. All pro- 
posed improvements were evaluated from a fore- 
ground view (0-I mile). The further a subject is from 
the viewer, the less the impact/contrast. 

The proposed range improvement projects are 
evaluated in the following discussion based on their 
potential adverse impacts on each of the four VRM 
classes that exist in the ES area. These impacts 
include: 

1. Disturbances to ground cover associated with 

construction of range improvement projects 
and vegetation manipulation. 

2. Construction of additional access roads to facili- 

tate construction and maintenance of proposed 
range improvement projects. 

3. Creation of unnatural color contrasts with the 

surrounding area on both above-ground struc- 
tures and the vegetation. 

4. Placement of unnatural appearing structures on 

the landscape. 

5. Production of unnatural vegetative complexes as- 

sociated with vegetative manipulation projects. 

6. Increases in livestock-associated visual impacts 

resulting from livestock concentrations around 
water sources and along fences (loss of vege- 
tation, increased erosion, etc.). 

7. Contrast created between grazed and ungrazed 

pastures. 



3-25 





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3-26 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Within a VRM Class, only those projects with a 
low visual impact level would meet the visual re- 
source management objectives for that class. No 
mitigation would be necessary. Projects with a 
moderate or high impact level would not meet the 
VRM objectives for that class without mitigation 
(see Table 3-7). 



Class I 



This class provides primarily for natural ecologi- 
cal changes only. In the ES area, Class I includes 
only specially designated areas ("Wild" segment of 
the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River and the 
Square Butte Natural Area). With the exception of 
buried pipelines and salting stations, all proposed 
range improvement projects would create high 
visual impact levels in Class I areas. This implies 
that these projects would not meet the visual re- 
source management objectives defined in a Class I 
area and would therefore require mitigative meas- 
ures to meet those objectives. Because Class I 
areas are considered extremely sensitive to ad- 
verse visual impacts; fenceline contrasts between 
grazed and ungrazed pastures, above-ground struc- 
tures, access roads, reservoirs, and vegetation ma- 
nipulation areas would produce high visual impact 
levels. 

Buried pipelines would produce a low visual 
impact level and therefore would meet the VRM 
objectives of a Class I area without mitigation. 



Class II 



Changes in any of the basic elements (form, 
line, color, texture) caused by a range management 
activity should not be evident in the characteristic 
landscape of a Class II area. In the ES area, Class 
II landscapes are generally found in the mountain- 
ous or forested regions and along the "scenic" and 
"recreational" segments of the Missouri River. With 
the exception of cattleguards, which would produce 
a low impact level in a Class II area, the visual 
impact levels of the remaining projects in Class I 
and II areas would appear to be the same. Scenery 
quality in a Class II area could be equal to that in a 
Class I area. Generally, this is the case in the ES 
area (see Map 2-12, Chapter 2); therefore, the ad- 
verse visual impacts created by the proposed range 
improvement project would be similar in both 
classes. 



Class III 



In a Class III area, changes in the basic ele- 
ments (form, line, color, texture) caused by a range 
management activity may be evident in the charac- 
teristic landscape. However, the changes should 
remain subordinate to the existing visual quality. 
Most Class III areas occur along the major trans- 
portation corridors in the ES area. Scenic quality in 
these areas is normally lower than that found in 
Class I or II areas and would be less sensitive to 
adverse visual impacts. With the exception of 
pump-type wells, rainwater catchments, and roads 
and trails which would produce significant adverse 
visual impacts to form and line elements, the pro- 
posed range improvement projects would meet the 
Class III VRM objectives. 



Class IV 



Changes in a Class IV area may subordinate the 
original composition and character of the landscape 
but must reflect what could be a natural occurrence 
within the landscape. Most Class IV areas are lo- 
cated in seldom seen areas or areas of average 
scenery quality. Because of this, only those range 
improvements which would create high levels of 
visual contrast would fail to meet the management 
objectives of a Class IV area. Only rainwater catch- 
ments fall within this category. Form and color con- 
trasts associated with the collection area, the stor- 
age bag and earthen embankments, and the stock 
water tank are responsible for this high contrast. All 
remaining range impovement projects would fall 
within a low visual impact level and would require 
no mitigation to meet visual objectives for a Class 
IV area. 

With a few exceptions, range improvement pro- 
jects proposed in the ES area would not meet the 
visual resource management (VRM) objectives of a 
Class I or II area. However, only a small number of 
the proposed and existing AMPs are located within 
these management classes. A majority of the AMPs 
are situated in Class III and IV areas where VRM 
objectives could be met. 



Summary of Impacts to Visual 
Resources 



Development of range improvements and estab- 
lishment of grazing systems would have a slight 
adverse effect on visual resources. Because the 
majority of the ES area lies within areas identified 



3-27 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



as visual resource management classes III and IV, 
most range improvements would have a minor 
impact or low contrast with the existing landscape 
character. In areas designated as visual resource 
management classes I and II, impacts to visual 
resources would be more significant; however, 
these areas are generally small and the range im- 
provements proposed are minimal. 



RECREATION 



hunting opportunities to any great extent, it would 
reduce the quality of the hunting experience. 

Short term impacts to hunting opportunities re- 
sulting from the proposed action would be negligi- 
ble as several seasons of hunting use would be 
required to influence past hunting use patterns. As 
anticipated long term (15 years) small increases in 
populations of most huntable wildlife species occur 
both locally and throughout the ES area, some 
slight long term increases in hunting opportunities 
would result. 



The following analysis discusses the impacts of 
the proposed action on the various recreational ac- 
tivities and special management areas present in 
the ES area. Special attention was given to specific 
management areas such as Square Butte and the 
Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River because im- 
pacts in these areas may have a more pronounced 
effect on recreational opportunities due to concen- 
trated recreational use in these areas. 



Hunting 



Implementation of the proposed action is ex- 
pected to have an overall slight beneficial impact 
on hunting opportunities by improving wildlife habi- 
tat and potentially increasing wildlife numbers. 
Quantification of increased hunting opportunities 
due to an anticipated increase in wildlife numbers is 
not possible at this time. 

The major factor influencing hunting opportuni- 
ties in the ES area is number of harvestable ani- 
mals. Increases or decreases in wildlife numbers 
resulting from implementation of the proposed 
action are discussed in Chapter 3, Wildlife. The 
following discussion relates the findings of the wild- 
life section to impacts on hunting opportunities in 
the ES area. 

Another factor influencing hunting opportunities 
is access. New roads, trails, and cattleguards 
needed for project construction and maintenance of 
proposed grazing systems in the ES area would 
improve access and provide additional opportunities 
for hunters to utilize the public lands. Although im- 
proving access implies no increase or decrease in 
wildlife numbers, a localized increase in hunting 
opportunities could result. 

Construction of new fences, although not exten- 
sive, would create additional barriers to unrestricted 
movement of hunters desiring cross-country travel. 
Although it is unlikely that this impact would reduce 



Big Game 

According to the wildlife impact analysis (Chap- 
ter 3), mule deer and white-tailed deer would in- 
crease slightly as a result of the proposed action, 
due generally to improvements in the habitat of 
these animals. It can be assumed that an increase 
in animal numbers would increase hunting opportu- 
nities. In this instance, however, the increase in 
hunting opportunities is expected to be slight. 

As a result of the proposed action, antelope 
populations in the ES area are expected to remain 
essentially the same. Because of this, antelope 
hunting opportunities in the ES area would likely 
remain unchanged. 

Range improvement projects could produce lo- 
calized increases or decreases in big game hunting 
opportunities depending on the specific manage- 
ment activity and the impact of that activity on each 
big game species. In general, range improvement 
projects such as fences, vegetation manipulation, 
and new water sources in crucial wildlife habitat 
areas would have adverse impacts on game spe- 
cies utilizing these areas (see Wildlife, Chapter 3). 
However, the intensities of these impacts and the 
effect on hunting opportunities are not quantifiable 
at this time. 



Upland Game 

Upland game bird populations would increase 
slightly in the ES area as a result of implementing 
the proposed action due to overall improvements in 
upland game habitat. This increase in bird popula- 
tions would result in a probable slight increase in 
hunting opportunities. Localized increases or de- 
creases in upland bird populations could result from 
implementation of certain site-oriented range man- 
agement activities such as vegetation manipula- 
tions and rest or deferred grazing systems. 



3-28 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Merriam's Turkey 

A slight increase is expected in turkey popula- 
tions as a result of the proposed action due to 
anticipated improvements in turkey habitat. Turkey 
hunting opportunities in AMP areas likely would 
similarly be increased slightly. 



Waterfowl 

The proposed construction of 436 new reser- 
voirs would provide additional waterfowl habitat and 
produce increases in waterfowl numbers. This in- 
crease would likely improve waterfowl hunting op- 
portunities. The reservoirs would also provide sites 
for hunters in locating waterfowl. The overall in- 
creases in waterfowl hunting opportunities in the 
ES area are expected to be slight, but localized 
increases could be substantial. 



Fishing 



Implementation of the proposed action is ex- 
pected to produce little change in present fishing 
opportunities in the ES area because (1) most of 
the adverse impacts to riparian areas along fisher- 
ies created by present livestock grazing would con- 
tinue (see Wildlife, Chapter 3), (2) most stream 
bank acreage is in private ownership and outside 
the control of the Bureau, and (3) most fishery 
reservoirs on public lands are continually stocked 
to maintain catchable fish populations. 

Therefore, the major benefit to fishing derived 
from the proposed action would be better water- 
shed management, which would reduce siltation, 
increase shoreline vegetation (reduced siltation 
would provide clearer water and increase the life of 
the reservoir extending fishing opoprtunities), and 
provide some additional local fishing opportunities 
(some of the 436 proposed reservoirs would be 
suitable for stocking, providing fish are available). 



ing opportunities even though these roads and 
trails are visual intrusions in themselves. 

If objectives are met in the proposed action, an 
overall improvement in range condition should 
occur giving the public lands a "healthier" more 
aesthetic appearance. Probable concentrations of 
wildlife in rest pastures would improve wildlife view- 
ing opportunities. 

Impacts to sightseeing caused by the proposed 
action will have little effect on participation but will 
affect the quality of the recreational sightseeing ex- 
perience. 



Off-Road Vehicle Use 



The proposed action includes construction of 
new fences. Fences are barriers to cross-country 
off-road vehicles and when nearly buried by snow, 
are hazards to snowmobile users. 

New roads required for construction of range 
improvements and maintenance of grazing systems 
would provide additional opportunities for off-road 
vehicle use. 

Implementation of the proposed action would 
produce only minor impacts to off-road vehicle use 
and would have little net effect on projected off- 
road vehicle use in the region. 



Sightseeing 



Floatboating 



Floatboating is expected to increase over the 
next few years. Implementation of the proposed 
action would improve vegetation along streams and 
rivers where AMPs are located and result in a long 
term increase in scenic quality. Associated fishing 
and camping activities would also benefit and pro- 
vide a higher quality floatboating experience. 

Range improvements placed near a stream or 
river where they could be viewed by the floatboater 
would distract from the scenic quality and reduce 
the quality of the recreational experience. 



The major adverse impacts to sightseeing op- 
portunities are associated with proposed range im- 
provements that would produce visual intrusions on 
the landscape and decrease scenic values (Chap- 
ter 3, Visual Resources). 

Roads and trails required for project construc- 
tion and grazing system maintenance would provide 
additional access and potentially increase sightsee- 



Sport Shooting 



Implementation of the proposed action would 
benefit sport shooting activities by providing addi- 
tional access roads associated with project con- 
struction and maintenance. Rested or deferred pas- 
tures would provide no conflict shooting areas. 



3-29 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Sport shooting near livestock would endanger 
the stock. New fences may present barriers to 
movement of sport shooting enthusiasts. 

Overall, implementation of the proposed action 
would create only minor impacts to sport shooting 
and would have little net effect on projected in- 
creases in sport shooting activities. 



Other Activities 



Camping, picnicking, hiking, collecting (rocks, 
minerals, plants, fossils), and other recreational ac- 
tivities which occur at undeveloped sites on the 
public lands in the ES area would be only slightly 
impacted by the proposed action because of the 
very dispersed nature of the use. Participants 
choose where they wish to participate on the public 
lands and can avoid areas with high livestock/re- 
creationist conflicts. 

The removal of vegetation by grazing livestock 
and soil disturbances associated with the proposed 
range improvements could improve conditions for 
collecting by exposing specimens to rockhounds. 

Additional fences needed to implement the pro- 
posed action would create barriers to free move- 
ment of recreationists adversely impacting recre- 
ational access. However, gates placed in these 
fences would reduce these impacts creating little 
net adverse effect. 



Special Management Areas 



Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River 

Livestock grazing has been a historic use of the 
rangelands bordering the Upper Missouri Wild and 
Scenic River. In places, past grazing has damaged 
streambank vegetation and produced related prob- 
lems such as erosion, reduction of scenic values, 
and loss of wildlife habitat. Part of the objectives of 
the proposed action are to improve the condition of 
the rangelands along the Upper Missouri Wild and 
Scenic River and reduce these problems. However, 
under the proposed action, livestock would contin- 
ue to congregate in the river bottoms and would 
continue to utilize river bank vegetation, trample 
river banks (encouraging bank caving and slough- 
ing), and decrease watershed stability. Additional 
water sources and implementation of deferred and 
rest rotation grazing systems would help reduce the 
intensities of these impacts on recreation. 

The proposed action would increase recreation- 
al opportunities in the ES area by improving hunt- 



ing, fishing, and sightseeing opportunities along the 
river. However, as recreational use increases on 
the river (yearly increases have been substantial, 
35 percent increase 1975 to 1976), conflicts be- 
tween livestock grazing and recreation such as 
camping and sightseeing would become more 
common. The presence of livestock along the river 
corridor is considered to be unnatural to some rec- 
reational users, especially along the "wild" seg- 
ments of the river. Livestock represent human pres- 
ence and could detract from the expected experi- 
ence associated with the definition of wild, ". . . 
with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive. . 
." To some, livestock do not enhance a primitive 
setting. Visible signs of livestock grazing-fences, 
trails, absence of tall grasses, livestock waste-all 
could detract from a primitive experience because 
of their association with man. 

The numerous cottonwood groves scattered 
along the river banks are preferred campsites. 
These groves mean shade from the sun, shelter 
from the wind, and an aesthetic setting for a camp. 
The groves are also used by livestock. They pro- 
vide shade from the hot summer sun, unlimited 
supplies of drinking water, and trees for rubbing. 
The presence of livestock in these camping areas 
creates problems. Concentrated livestock waste in 
a small area creates unpleasant odors and draws 
flies and other insects which are pests to campers. 
Several cottonwood groves are being adversely im- 
pacted through soil compaction, depletion of under- 
story vegetation, and loss of seedlings. Over a long 
period of time, with continual grazing, existing 
groves will become mature and die out and, be- 
cause no new seedlings were established, recre- 
ational activities enhanced by these groves would 
be lost (no shade or shelter). Even though the 
proposed action would improve these conditions 
through better livestock management, these im- 
pacts would nonetheless exist. 

Recreational use of the Upper Missouri Wild and 
Scenic River would increase regardless of whether 
the proposed action was implemented. The pro- 
posed action would not have any significant effect 
on visitor use on the river, but, the quality of the 
recreational experience should be somewhat im- 
proved through better livestock management. 



Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge 

Implementing the proposed action should im- 
prove the condition of the rangelands bordering the 
Refuge by providing additional forage for wildlife. 
Because wildlife do not respect political boundaries, 
animals on the Refuge should benefit from the ad- 
ditional forage. Increased wildlife populations and 



3-30 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



better hunting opportunities could result within the 
Refuge and on adjacent public lands. 

Square Butte Natural Area 

One proposed AMP falls within the Square Butte 
Natural Area designation (Arrow Creek - 9783). This 
AMP has a grazing season from 9/23-5/30, which 
is past the summer recreation use season. No im- 
provements are proposed and no adverse impacts 
to recreation are anticipated. 

Nez Perce Trail 

Because this trail is presently only a historic 
location and not a developed trail, no grazing con- 
flicts with recreation opportunities have been identi- 
fied. 



Summary of Impacts to Recreation 



Implementation of the proposed action would 
have a slightly beneficial impact on hunting oppor- 
tunities by improving wildlife habitat and potentially 
increasing wildlife numbers. Changes in the quantity 
or quality of opportunities for fishing, sightseeing, 
off-road vehicle use, floatboating, sport shooting, 
and other recreational activities would be minor. 
The proposed action would improve the quality of 
recreational opportunities along the Upper Missouri 
Wild and Scenic River by more effectively manag- 
ing livestock grazing within the river corridor. No 
other special management areas for recreation 
would be significantly affected by the proposed 
action. 



ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL 
CONDITIONS 



Economic Conditions 



This section analyzes those sectors of the 
economy that would be affected by the proposed 
action, including livestock, contract construction, 
government, and hunting recreation. Except for 
hunting (where the data had limitations) these sec- 
tors were analyzed using the computerized BLM 
DYRAM (Dynamic Regional Analysis Model) which 
uses historic socio-economic data to generate an- 
ticipated changes in earnings and employment. 
(Appendix 9 presents a schematic of the DYRAM 



process.) Those economic sectors not affected by 
grazing management were not further analyzed 
beyond the basic data presentation in Chapter 2, 
Economic and Social Conditions. 



Income 

Range-related income in the ES area would 
drop following the implementation of the proposed 
action by approximately $39,000 annually in 1980 
dollars. That figure, measured against a I980 base 
of $94 million in personal income from livestock 
operations in the nine-county area, and spread 
among almost 400 operators who are to some 
extent dependent on BLM AUMs, is insignificant to 
the nine county economy. However, some opera- 
tors would experience economic difficulties during 
the years 1980-1985, the period when the cutback 
in income would occur. The annual loss of $39,000 
in income results from a reduction of approximately 
3,000 AUMs across the ES area. The loss would 
not be spread evenly among all operators (in fact, 
27 allotments would receive an increase), and 
some operators would experience a substantial de- 
crease. While 69 of the 318 allotments have a 
reduction in BLM AUMs, only 10 allotments (12 
operators) would have a reduction of 25 percent or 
greater. Table 3-8 provides data on those 10 allot- 
ments. Total operator AUM needs as shown in the 
table are a general indicator of an operator's 
annual need for AUMs (both BLM and private) 
based on herd size. In many instances, this figure 
does not include the total ranch operation, i.e., an 
operator may farm a substantial portion of his pri- 
vate acreage in addition to raising cattle. Thus, the 
use of total operator AUM needs as a measure of 
dependency on BLM AUMs presents a "worst 
case" analysis of adverse impacts to an individual 
operator. 

Assuming an estimated market value of $10.04 
per AUM in the nine county ES area, it appears that 
the value of livestock production foregone by the 
12 operators included in Table 3-8 as a result of 
the reduction in BLM AUMs would total approxi- 
mately $18,213 ($10.04 x 1,814 AUMs). Using a 
county specific market value per AUM (see Table 
2-24), it is possible to determine the dollar value of 
livestock production foregone by each operator at 
implementation. The relationship of the following 
dollar losses to total ranch revenues has not been 
determined because no data are available on total 
individual ranch income. Operators for allotments 
0095 and 6214 (operator A) (see Table 3-8) would 
experience an annual loss of livestock income in 
excess of $3,000, but less than $4,000. Operators 
on allotments 0009, 0036, 5663, and 6217 (opera- 
tors A and B) would experience an annual loss of 



3-31 



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3-32 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



between $1,000 and $3,000. Operators for allot- 
ments 2146, 6214 (operator B), 9755, 9761, and 
9783 would all lose less than $1,000 per year. 
Assuming that AMP objectives are met and addi- 
tional AUMs become available within 15 years, only 
one operator would experience a long-term loss of 
over $3,000 per year, two operators would experi- 
ence a loss of between $1,000 and $3,000, and 
nine operators would have a loss of less than 
$1,000. 

These loss values are an estimate of the 
income lost as a result of the reduction in BLM 
AUMs. The basic assumptions in this analysis are: 

(1) the market value of an AUM by county is accu- 
rately reflected by a 6-year average of the quotient 
of livestock receipts by county and livestock num- 
bers (adjusted appropriately by type of animal), and 

(2) losses are "potential" in the same sense that if 
an operator's AUM level is reduced, he will lose the 
opportunity to realize income from livestock produc- 
tion on that parcel of land. 

Additional analysis of the 10 allotments and 12 
operators with a 25 percent or greater reduction 
based on BLM grazing records, contacts with sev- 
eral of the affected operators, the professional 
judgment of BLM personnel familiar with the allot- 
ments, and the dependency relationship shown in 
Table 3-8 indicate that eight operators would most 
likely be able to continue their livestock operations 
with minimal disruptions. Several factors temper the 
impact of the BLM AUM reductions for these oper- 
ators. Many operators have not been actively using 
all AUMs currently available through BLM license or 
lease, and therefore the proposed reductions are 
consistent with existing operator herd sizes. In 
other cases, the reduction in AUMs on public lands 
is not significant in terms of an individual's total 
ranch operation. However, four operators may ex- 
perience difficulty in maintaining an economically 
viable livestock operation during initial phases of 
implementation of the proposed action. These four 
operators would be faced with the choices of sig- 
nificantly reducing herd size, buying or leasing re- 
placement AUMs in the form of land or supplemen- 
tal feed, or stopping livestock operations and find- 
ing alternate means of employment. 

The expected 22,004 new AUMs of livestock 
forage eventually generated through management 
of the allotments would, however, be adding addi- 
tional yearly income of $284,000 adjusted to 1980 
dollars after the AMPs become fully operational. 
This sum is still small, but would add 0.3 percent to 
livestock personal income in the ES area counties 
annually. This stimulus to the economy would add 
$45,000 in secondary effects to total annual per- 
sonal income in the ES area. Total measurable 
economic growth from increased livestock income 



would, in other words, amount to an annual in- 
crease of 0.09 percent in the nine counties. The 
improved range condition resulting from allotment 
management would increase the amount of forage 
available, and improve livestock health and condi- 
tion. An additional unquantifiable amount of income 
would be realized through higher fertility, lessened 
mortality, and higher calf weights. 

The construction expenditures created by gov- 
ernment-sponsored range improvements would, 
however, generate a more significant impact on 
income. The construction of improvements would 
inject additional personal income into the nine- 
county area, amounting to $1,532,000 or a tempo- 
rary increase of 14.3 percent of 1980 construction 
income. Because the construction of range im- 
provements is essentially a one-time expenditure 
(although spread over four years) and much of the 
new income would be spent outside the nine 
county area, the secondary effect on the economy 
of the ES area would be negligible, amounting to 
only about $.01 for each dollar of construction 
income. 

The present value of the investment in improve- 
ments has been measured against the present 
value of the annual income increase, computed in 
1980 dollars to the year 2000. When amortized out 
to 2000, using a seven percent interest rate, the 
investment outlay would equal $3.07 million, while 
the total increase in income based on AUMs only, 
would amount to $3.01 million. Thus, using only the 
one measure of benefit, there would be about one 
dollar return for each dollar invested. The applica- 
tion of range improvements to improve the range- 
lands in the ES area certainly has better investment 
return than this figure (which was the only portion 
that could be accurately quantified), because the 
management program would also improve herd 
health, resulting in lower mortality, higher fertility, 
and increased calf weights for marketing; improve 
watershed; and increase wildlife numbers. 

Federal government-related income would also 
increase. The 30 new employees that would be 
required to implement the AMPs are expected to 
continue to be employed into the future to help 
carry the increased administrative load this man- 
agement will require. In I980 dollars, this would be 
an annual personal income for the ES area of 
$357,000 (employee salaries), or an increase over 
present levels of 2.3 percent. The total direct and 
indirect effect on the economy would be a change 
in personal income of $431,000 annually, or an 
increase of 0.01 percent to the total nine county 
economy. 

Hunter/fisher days would probably not be great- 
ly affected by AMP implementation. New forage 
would be allocated to wildlife, but the increase in 



3-33 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



wildlife is expected to be about eight percent 
across the ES area (see Wildlife, Chapter 3). Rec- 
reation projections do show a significant increase in 
hunting pressure on the ES area, but these in- 
creases would be a result of an increased hunting 
population in areas outside the ES area, and would 
not be attributable to changes in habitat condition. 
The slight increases in game populations might be 
a factor in attraction of hunters to the area, but is 
not quantifiable because of the overwhelming influ- 
ence of other factors, particularly population in- 
crease outside of the ES area. 



Employment 

In 1980, total nine county area employment is 
projected to be 31,443 without implementation of 
the proposed action. This figure would rise to 
31,558 under the proposed action, but the con- 
struction portion of that employment increase would 
be temporary. 

There would be an employment increase of 30 
in the livestock industry, and the federal govern- 
ment also would employ an additional 30 people. 
Because the livestock increases and additional gov- 
ernmental administrative responsibilities would con- 
tinue into the foreseeable future, these 60 additions 
to the work force would be permanent. 

The construction industry would support an ad- 
ditional 48 workers. However, because this is a 
one-time occurrence, this employment sector could 
be expected to drop back to pre-implementation 
levels following construction of the range improve- 
ments. Construction is projected to occur over a 
four-year period. 

In addition, secondary effects of these primary 
additions to income and employment would gener- 
ate employment for 7 persons. 

Employment related to recreation is difficult to 
measure because little employment is directly relat- 
ed to recreation activities such as hunting (i.e., 
guides and outfitters are a small portion of total 
employment). Most recreation employment is in the 
retail trade and service sectors, and as such is not 
totally dependent on recreation. The increase in 
such employment, due to potentially increased 
hunting, would not be likely to exceed the small 
increases in employment in other sectors. 

The total employment effect of implementation 
of the 3I8 AMPs would be small. The measurable 
increase of 115 positions, including the temporary 
construction employment, amounts to 0.3 percent 
of projected total employment in I980. This effect is 
particularly small when considering the large geo- 



graphic area and many communities over which the 
increase would be spread. 



Social Conditions 



Factors measuring social well-being include per- 
sons per physician, education, population change, 
change in number of farms, age distribution of the 
population, unemployment, and family income (see 
Chapter 2, Economic and Social Conditions, Table 
2-26). Because only small changes in income and 
employment are anticipated, the grazing manage- 
ment program should have no measurable effect 
on social well-being. 

Equally, there should be little impact on public 
finance and infrastructure. Implementation of the 
AMPs will cause a very small initial drop in the 
number of livestock supported by BLM land. The 
amount (2,921 AUMs representing 243 animal 
units) spread over nine counties, should cause no 
significant loss of ranch value and, therefore, of tax 
base. The eventual increase of livestock (22,004 
AUMs representing 1,834 animal units) is also small 
relative to total BLM AUMs (374,301), producing 
little increase in taxable value of ES area ranches. 

These small changes should have little effect on 
county services, presented in Chapter 2, Social and 
Economic Conditions, Table 2-29. 

Socio-cultural attitudes can be expected to be 
little affected by the proposed action. Because the 
proposal projects both an increase in the amount of 
livestock supported by the area and the amount of 
wildlife habitat, it appears to be in agreement with 
the prevailing local attitudes which show that 
people support agricultural development and pres- 
ervation of wildlife when it also permits livestock 
grazing. There is some support for land use plan- 
ning which is an element of the proposed action. 

Some specific parts of the proposed action 
appear to be counter to expressed attitudes. A 
growing federal presence occasioned by the in- 
creased grazing administration is counter to the at- 
titude that government influence and planning 
should be at the local government level, although 
this increased federal action calls for range im- 
provements, which most ranchers see as beneficial 
to their grazing operations. Wildlife organizations 
may be resistant to the amount and location of 
some range improvements and vegetative manipu- 
lation. 



3-34 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Summary of Impacts to Economic and 
Social Conditions 



The short-term range related income loss from 
the proposed program, an estimated $39,000, is 
insigificant on a regional basis. Of the 400 opera- 
tors dependent upon BLM AUMs, four of those with 
significant reductions in AUMs are likely to experi- 
ence difficulty maintaining an economic operation. 
In these few cases, herd reductions or obtaining 
supplemental grazing privileges or feed could be 
required. Increased forage production when AMP 
objectives are met would result in personal income 
increases of $284,000. A 14 percent increase 
($1,532,000) in short-term construction expendi- 
tures would occur during development of the range 
improvements. Increased government employment 
of 30 people would add $431,000 annually to per- 
sonal income in the ES area. There may be some 
resistance to increased government involvement in 
grazing on public lands; however, social conditions 
would generally be unaffected. 



LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 



The proposed action would have no significant 
adverse impact on land ownership. However, im- 
pacts would occur to livestock grazing and wilder- 
ness resources. 



Livestock Grazing 



The proposed action would initially adjust the 
AUMs of licensed use on 96 allotments for a net 
decrease of 2,921 AUMs. This adjustment would 
result from an increase of 1,942 AUMs on 27 allot- 
ments, a decrease of 4,863 AUMs on 69 allot- 
ments, and no change on 222 allotments. Appendix 
4 shows these initial adjustments, and Table 3-9 
gives a summary of these adjustments by landform 
and total ES area. This reduction would be short- 
term, while the 15 year projection or long-term 
would result in an increase of 22,004 AUMs. 

The proposed action would change 66 allot- 
ments covering 303,004 acres from yearlong graz- 
ing to periodic grazing seasons with grazing sys- 
tems. Present licensed use on these allotments 
would be reduced by 369 AUMs for a short-term 
impact. The projected 15 year or long-term in- 
crease for these 66 allotments is 4,690 AUMs over 
present licensed use. 



There are 19 allotments covering 47,847 acres 
which would remain under a yearlong operation, but 
would have a deferred rotation or rest rotation graz- 
ing system. The initial or short-term reduction would 
be 55 AUMs while the long-term or 15 year project- 
ed increase for these 19 allotments amounts to 
2,371 AUMs. 

There are nine allotments covering 23,957 acres 
remaining under a yearlong grazing season. Imple- 
mentation of the proposed action would reduce 
these allotments by 18 AUMs for the short term. 
The long-term projection within 15 years shows an 
increase of 62 AUMs over present licensed use. 
Table 3-10summahzes these changes on yearlong 
operations by landform and the ES area. 

Other major changes in use tend to occur in 
spring and early summer use (3/1 to 6/30), and fall 
and winter use (9/1 to 2/28). Table 3-11 shows 
these changes by landform and ES area. The pro- 
posed action would reduce spring and early 
summer grazing by a net total of 28 allotments, for 
99 weeks, on 96,522 acres for 938 AUMs. Fall and 
winter use shows a net reduction of two allotments 
for 31 weeks, but a net increase on 143,467 acres 
for 2,089 AUMs. These reductions and increases 
are not total losses or gains, but mostly shifting of 
AUMs within time frames, on allotments and within 
allotments, and on total acreages. While these 
changes in use will adversely impact some live- 
stock operations in the short-term, most of these 
impacts will benefit these livestock operations over 
the long-term of 1 5 years. 

Livestock concentration will occur in use pas- 
tures thus causing more competition and use of 
palatable species and forced consumption of less 
palatable species. Therefore, weight gains would be 
lower in the short term. However, as palatable 
forage production increases throughout the 15 year 
long term, this impact would be reversed and 
weight gains increased for a beneficial impact to 
livestock. Deferral and rest of pastures at periodic 
intervals would improve vegetation vigor and repro- 
duction over the long term. 

Improved forage production and conditions 
when the proposed AMP objectives are met would 
increase calf-lamb crop percentages, weight gains, 
and weaning/selling weights. These increases 
would vary from allotment to allotment. 

The proposed increase of 22,004 AUMs within 
15 years amounts to 1,834 animal units, or about 1 
percent of the present animal units of the ES area. 
Annual fluctuations in livestock numbers could 
easily exceed this projected increase for the ES 
area. These annual fluctuations could be caused by 
prices of livestock, hay, grain crops, or by severe 
climatic conditions. 



3-35 



TABLE 3-9 
INITIAL ADJUSTMENTS IN LIVESTOCK AUMS 





ROLLING 




RIVER 


ES 




PLAINS 


MOUNTAINS 


BREAKS 


TOTAL 


No change 










No. of allotments 
Acres—'' 


139 


4 


79 


222 


773,164 


8,073 


527,476 


1,308,713 


Reductions 










No. of allotments 


32 


1 


36 


69 


AUMs 
Acres—' 


2,675 
200,534 


110 
1,272 


2,078 
241,018 


4,863 
442,824 


Increases 










No. of allotments 


11 


2 


14 


27 


AUMs 
Acres—/ 


1,164 
155,211 


70 
1,659 


708 
63,328 


1,942 
220,198 


Net change (reduction or 










increase) 










No. of allotments 


-21 


+1 


-22 


-42 


AUMs 


-1,511 


-40 


-1,370 


-2,921 


Acres —' 


-45,323 


+387 


-177,690 


-222,626 



— BLM acreage only 



3-36 



TABLE 3-10 
CHANGES IN YEARLONG OPERATIONS 



ROLLING 
PLAINS 



MOUNTAINS 



RIVER 
BREAKS 



ES 
TOTAL 



Reduced season of use 

Deferred Rotation System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Seasonal System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Rest Rotation System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Total Reduced Season of Use 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Remaining yearlong operations 
with grazing systems 



20 





7 


27 


27 





+7 


20 


2,103 





1,370 


3,473 


88,087 





49,360 


137,447 


17 


1 


13 


31 


102 





+25 


77 


262 





477 


739 


40,951 


716 


44,949 


86,616 


5 





3 


8 


+8 


+8 


288 


272 


316 


8 


154 


478 


26,259 





52,682 


78,941 


42 


1 


23 


66 


121 


+8 


-256 


369 


2,681 


8 


2,001 


4,690 


155,297 


716 


146,991 


303,004 



Deferred Rotation System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Seasonal System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Rest Rotation System 
No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 

Total remaining yearlong 
operations 

No. of allotments 
Licensed use AUMs 
Potential AUMs 
Acres 



13 





4 


17 


10 





45 


55 


1,769 





487 


2,256 


9,563 





29,872 


39,435 


4 





5 


9 








18 


18 


61 





1 


62 


14,276 





9,681 


23,957 


2 








2 














115 








115 


8,412 








8,412 



19 





9 


10 





63 


1,945 





488 


32,251 





39,553 



28 

73 

2,433 

71,804 



3-37 



TABLE 3-11 
CHANGES IN SEASON OF USE 



ROLLING 
PLAINS 



MOUNTAINS 



RIVER 
BREAKS 



ES 
TOTAL 



SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER USE 



Decrease in use from 
3/1 to 6/30 

No. of allotments 
No. of weeks 
Acres 

Licensed AUMs 



24 


4 


20 


48 


94 


11 


76 


181 


131,128 


6,798 


133,088 


271,014 


2,708 


127 


1,635 


4,470 



Increase in use from 
3/1 to 6/30 

No. of allotments 
No. of weeks 
Acres 

Licensed AUMs 



11 





9 


20 


32 





50 


82 


118,351 





56,141 


174,492 


2,042 





1,490 


3,532 



Net change in use from 
3/1 to 6/30 

No. of allotments 
No. of weeks 
Acres 

Licensed AUMs 



13 


4 


11 


28 


62 


11 


26 


99 


2,777 


6,798 


76,947 


96,522 


666 


127 


145 


938 



FALL AND WINTER USE 



Decrease in use from 










9/1 to 2/28 










No. of allotments 


18 


2 


16 


36 


No. of weeks 


95 


5 


87 


187 


Acres 


86,894 


3,653 


67,605 


158,152 


Licensed AUMs 


3,011 


42 


1,297 


4,350 



Increase in use from 
9/1 to 2/28 

No. of allotments 
No. of weeks 
Acres 

Licensed AUMs 



23 





11 


34 


82 





74 


156 


216,612 





85,007 


301,619 


4,013 





2,426 


6,439 



Net change in use from 
9/1 to 2/28 

No. of allotments 
No. of weeks 
Acres 

Licensed AUMs 



5 


2 


5 


2 


13 


5 


13 


31 


+129,718 


-3,653 


+17,402 


+143,467 


+1,002 


-42 


+1,129 


+2,089 



3-38 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



Wilderness 



A 5,000 acre roadless area inventory and sub- 
sequent identification of wilderness study areas has 
not been completed. Without this information, an 
identification of site-specific impacts to wilderness 
values cannot be made. Prior to implementation of 
any actions, the area would be inventoried and 
impacts on potential or existing wilderness areas 
would be assessed. 

As an interim step, an impact analysis has been 
made to determine which range management ac- 
tions would impair an area's potential suitability for 
wilderness consideration. For the most part, these 
management actions involve range improvement 
projects. In analyzing the potential impacts of these 
projects, the key factor would not be the presence 
of man-made features, but rather the extent of their 
effect on the landscape. Range improvement pro- 
jects would not automatically exclude an area from 
wilderness consideration. Proposed projects would 
be evaluated to determine their degree of contrast 
with the existing environment and their impact on 
the potential wilderness integrity of the area. 

In general, the major impacts to wilderness 
values created by the proposed action include (1) 
visual impacts produced by surface structures, and 
(2) a loss of wilderness integrity created by 
changes in natural ecological processes (vegetation 
manipulations, additional water sources, fencelines, 
presence of livestock). Wilderness values would not 
be permanently lost if a proposed range improve- 
ment could be removed or a site rehabilitated. 

Table 3-12 lists the proposed range improve- 
ment projects and their Visual Resource Contrast 
Ratings or Feature Scores (see Appendix 8 for a 
description of the Visual Resource Contrast Rating 
or Features Scores). Low, moderate, or high visual 
impacts in wilderness study areas were determined 
based on the feature score of each proposed proj- 
ect (composite contrast rating). A feature score of 
1-10 was given a low visual impact level and indi- 
cates the contrast can be seen, but does not at- 
tract attention. A moderate impact level, feature 
score 11-20, indicates the contrast attracts atten- 
tion~the contrast begins to dominate the character- 
istic landscape. A feature score of 21-30, high 
visual impact level, indicates the contrast demands 
attention and will not be overlooked. 

The other component used in the analysis of 
impacts to wilderness values is a change in the 
"wilderness integrity" of an area. A change in wil- 
derness integrity refers to the extent to which 
human influences have (1) altered natural ecologi- 
cal processes away from conditions one might 
expect had these influences not occurred, (2) ad- 



versely affected opportunities for solitude, (3) ad- 
versely impacted opportunities for primitive recrea- 
tion, and (4) adversely influenced significant geo- 
logical, scientific, educational, scenic, or historical 
values. In determining what the impacts to wilder- 
ness integrity would be, several components were 
considered. These components include: (1) present 
condition or status of the wilderness integrity in the 
area, (2) evaluation of the impact of the proposal 
on natural ecological processes, (3) the potential 
for separating the impacted portion from the rest of 
the area, (4) duration of the impact, (5) feasibility of 
correcting or mitigating the impact, and (6) the ra- 
tionale behind proposing the action. 

The adverse impacts to wilderness integrity 
were rated as low, moderate, or high (see Table 3- 
13). For a "low" adverse impact, a range improve- 
ment must leave the ecosystem operating in an 
essentially natural manner. A range management 
practice with a low impact must not adversely 
impact the primitive recreational experience sub- 
stantially. In addition, it must not increase the 
chance of a person seeing another (a loss of soli- 
tude). The range management must not be visible 
from an area of geological or cultural interest. Once 
placed in a wilderness study area, the improvement 
would not require removal or separation of the im- 
pacted area from the wilderness study area. 

A "moderate" rating would be characterized by 
alteration of the natural ecological processes to 
some degree, but would basically leave the ecosys- 
tem in a natural condition. Such range improve- 
ments are artificial but could be easily removed or 
possibly placed on or near the wilderness study 
area boundary. The improvement might decrease 
the quality of a primitive recreation experience or 
degrade the opportunities for solitude. A moderate 
impact range improvement could be visible from a 
geological or cultural site, but would not significant- 
ly impact the site or degrade recreational opportuni- 
ties associated with the site. 

The "high" adverse impact level would be unac- 
ceptable in an area designated as a wilderness 
study area. High adverse impacts would occur 
when the natural processes are modified, resulting 
in an unnatural condition. The presence of the im- 
provement would be obvious to most and would not 
be removable or separable from the rest of the 
study area. The improvement could substantially 
impact opportunities for solitude and could degrade 
the primitive recreational experience. If the im- 
provement were placed near or in view of an impor- 
tant geologic or cultural site, the recreational values 
of the site would be adversely impacted. 

Generally, range management practices with 
low adverse impacts to wilderness integrity would 
be acceptable, practices with high ratings would be 



3-39 



TABLE 3-12 



Visual Impact — 
Wilderness Study Areas 

Feature Score 



Project 



2/ 



Contrast Rating— 



Visual 
Impact Level 



3/ 



Fence 


10 


Reservoir 


13 


Well 




Artesian 


10 


Pump Type 


14 


Spring 


10 


Pipeline 


9 


Stock Water Tank 


10 


Cattleguard 


10 


Rainwater Catchment 


10 


Type IV Fence Crossing 


10 


Contour Furrowing 


13 


Plowing and Seeding 


15 


Sagebrush Spraying 


13 


Roads and Trails 


11 


Multiple Pasture Grazing Systems 


15 



Low 
Moderate 

Low 

Moderate 

Low 

Low 

Low 

Low 

Moderate 

Low 

Moderate 

Moderate 

Moderate 

Moderate 

Moderate 



1_/ See Appendix 8 for a discussion of the methodology used to determine 
visual impacts. 

2/ Maximum contrast rating = 30 (contrast rating after mitigation for 
visual impacts). 

3/ A contrast rating score of 1-10 represents a low visual impact level, 
11-20 moderate visual impact level, and 21-30 high visual impact 
level. 



Source: Based on BLM Manual 6320. 



3-40 



TABLE 3-13 
Wilderness Integrity Impact Levels 

Project Impact Level 

Fence Moderate 

Reservoir Moderate 

Well 

Artesian Moderate 

Pump-Type Moderate 

Spring Moderate 

Pipeline (buried) Low 

Stock Water Tank Moderate 

Cattleguard Low 

Rainwater Catchment Moderate 

Type IV Fence Crossing Low 

Contour Furrowing High 

Plowing and Seeding High 

Sagebrush Spraying High 

Roads and Trails 

"Roads" High 

Other (unbladed) Moderate 

Multiple Pasture Grazing Systems Moderate 



SOURCE: Recreation Specialist, ES Te 



am 



3-41 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



unacceptable, while those with moderate impacts 
would require case-by-case evaluation. 

Any range improvement projects found suitable 
for placement in a wilderness study area or allowed 
to remain in an area after wilderness designation 
would result in a short term loss of wilderness 
values in that area. This impact would be the most 
severe at the time of construction and would con- 
tinue for the life of the project. 

The following discussion describes the potential 
impacts to wilderness values resulting from imple- 
mentation of the range management projects pro- 
posed within the ES area. 



Fences 

If properly designed, fences would create mini- 
mal visual impacts to the landscape. However, if 
heavy machinery were used to clear a right-of-way 
for the fenceline, wilderness values would be ad- 
versely impacted both on a short term and long 
term basis. Fences would be easily removable at a 
reasonable cost if rehabilitation of the area was 
required. Fences would fall within a low visual 
impact level. A secondary impact of fence con- 
struction would involve the potential production of 
contrasts between the pastures on either side of 
the fence. These contrasts would vary over time 
depending on the grazing system used. Fences 
would produce a moderate adverse impact to wil- 
derness integrity because they would present haz- 
ards and barriers to movement of wildlife, would be 
normally quite visible due to fenceline contrasts, 
and would be obviously man-made in origin. 



Reservoirs 

The major adverse impacts to wilderness values 
would result from unnatural looking dams and 
borrow pit areas at the reservoir site. Reservoirs 
would be costly to rehabilitate and would require 
the use of heavy machinery. Even with mitigation 
for visual impacts, reservoirs would create a moder- 
ate visual impact level. Reservoirs would also pro- 
duce a moderate adverse impact to wilderness in- 
tegrity because the improvement would not be 
readily removable and would tend to encourage 
livestock concentrations in previously unused 
areas, which in turn would create impacts to natural 
processes in the area. 



structures, except the platform, could be easily re- 
moved if required. Flowing artesian wells would pro- 
duce a low visual impact level, but would create a 
moderate impact level to wilderness integrity. Pump 
type wells would require a larger above-ground 
structure and would have a greater adverse impact 
on wilderness values in an area. However, the 
structures would be easily removed if required. 
Pump type wells would produce a moderate visual 
impact level in the rolling plains and riverbreaks 
landforms and a low visual impact level in the 
mountain landform areas. Wells would produce 
moderate adverse impacts to wilderness integrity 
because additional water sources would affect nat- 
ural ecological processes. 



Springs 

Adverse impacts to wilderness values caused by 
spring development would be minimal as the visual 
impact level would be low and all above-ground 
structures could be easily removed. Developed 
springs would also produce moderate adverse im- 
pacts to wilderness integrity by possibly redistribu- 
tion of livestock resulting from placement of an 
additional water source on the range. 



Pipelines 

If no leveling of the ground or clearing of vege- 
tation for the pipeline right-of-way was needed to 
facilitate the use of the mechanical trenching ma- 
chine, the adverse impacts to wilderness values 
would be minimal. If clearing must be done, ad- 
verse visual impacts would be increased by the 
unnatural line on the landscape. The wilderness 
integrity of the area would be reduced. If the pipe- 
line were placed on the surface, the short term 
adverse visual impacts would be greater, but could 
be easily mitigated, if needed, by removing the 
pipe. Buried pipelines with no cleared right-of-way 
would create a low visual impact level and a low 
impact on wilderness integrity. 



Cattleguards 

Cattleguards would produce little adverse 
impact to wilderness values. The visual impact level 
would be low and the project could be easily re- 
moved. Impacts to wilderness integrity would also 
be low. 



Wells 

Flowing artesian wells would have little adverse 
impact on wilderness values. All above ground 



Rainwater Catchments 

Although catchments would produce a moderate 
visual impact, the project sites would be reasonably 



3-42 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



easy to rehabilitate and the above ground struc- 
tures could be easily removed. During the interim 
management phase, rainwater catchments would 
have a significant adverse impact on wilderness 
values by producing a substantially noticeable intru- 
sion on the landscape. A moderate impact on wil- 
derness integrity would result from changes in the 
natural ecological processes as a result of placing 
an additional water source on the range, affecting 
livestock distribution. 



Type IV Fence Crossings 

These projects would produce low visual impact 
levels and would be easily removed; therefore, the 
adverse impacts to wilderness values would be 
minimal. Impacts to wilderness integrity would also 
be low. 



Contour Furrowing 

Contour furrowing would create unnatural 
ground features and would produce an unnatural 
vegetation complex. Several years would be re- 
quired for a contour furrowing project site to reha- 
bilitate itself naturally. Because of this, short term 
adverse impacts to wilderness values would be 
substantial. Contour furrowing would produce a 
moderate visual impact level and would not easily 
lend itself to artificial rehabilitation. A high adverse 
impact to wilderness integrity would result from im- 
plementation of this action. 



Plowing and Seeding 

This vegetation manipulation practice would 
substantially change the appearance of the treated 
area by altering its natural vegetation complex. 
Several years would be required for a plowing and 
seeding project to rehabilitate itself naturally. Short 
term adverse impacts to visual quality would be 
substantial as illustrated by a moderate impact 
level. Plowing and seeding would not easily lend 
itself to artificial rehabilitation. A high adverse 
impact to wilderness integrity would result from im- 
plementation of this action. 



Sagebrush Spraying 

Sagebrush spraying would involve no ground 
disturbance, but the appearance of the treated area 
would be substantially changed as a result of re- 
ducing the number of broadleaf plants (sagebrush, 
forbs, etc.) and increasing growth of grasses. This 
would produce short term adverse impacts to wil- 
derness values as several years are required for a 



sprayed area to rehabilitate itself naturally. The 
treatment would create a moderate visual impact 
level and would not easily lend itself to artificial 
rehabilitation. A high adverse impact to wilderness 
integrity would result from implementation to this 
action. 



Roads and Trails 

Roads and trails would adversely impact wilder- 
ness values in an area by producing unnatural lines 
on the landscape. Development of a "road" would 
disqualify an area from wilderness consideration 
unless the new segments created by the road were 
over 5,000 acres each. A high adverse impact to 
wilderness integrity would result from construction 
of a "road." Unbladed roads and trails would lend 
themselves to both natural and artificial rehabilita- 
tion. The visual impact level would be moderate for 
roads and trails. A moderate adverse impact to 
wilderness integrity would result from construction 
of an unbladed road or trail. 



Multiple Pasture Grazing Systems 

The use of multiple pasture grazing systems 
would adversely impact wilderness values by pro- 
ducing unnatural lines on the landscape along fen- 
celines between pastures as they are grazed. The 
most obvious contrasts would develop between 
rest and use pastures, and would be most evident 
at the end of the grazing season. The use of multi- 
ple pasture grazing systems would produce a mod- 
erate visual impact level. The presence of livestock 
would also adversely impact the wilderness integrity 
of the area if domestic animals are considered un- 
natural to the viewer. A moderate impact to wilder- 
ness integrity would result from implementation of 
these grazing systems. 



Summary of Impacts to Land Use 



Implementation of the proposed action would 
increase stocking levels on 27 AMP allotments, de- 
crease levels on 69 AMP allotments, and cause no 
change on 222 AMP allotments. The overall initial 
reduction from existing licensed use would be one 
percent. Within 15 years, increased forage produc- 
tion would result in a seven percent increase from 
existing licensed livestock use. Sixty-six AMP allot- 
ments would be converted from yearlong grazing to 
periodic grazing seasons with grazing systems. 
Nineteen AMP allotments would remain under year- 
long operation but would implement deferred rest 
or rest rotation grazing systems. Forty-eight AMP 



3-43 



ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 



allotments would have a reduction in livestock use 
from 3/1 to 6/30 with 28 AMP allotments having an 
increase in use during that time period. Although 
some adjustments would be necessary for individu- 
al livestock operators, these effects are not consid- 
ered significant in the long term. 

A 5,000 acre roadless area inventory and sub- 
sequent identification of wilderness study areas has 
not been completed. Without this information an 
identification of site-specific impacts to wilderness 
values cannot be made. Prior to implementation of 
any actions which might affect wilderness values, 
the ES area would be inventoried and impacts on 
wilderness study areas would be assessed. 



3-44 



CHAPTER 4 



MITIGATING MEASURES 



CHAPTER 4 
MITIGATING MEASURES 



Mitigating measures presented in this chapter 
would reduce or eliminate adverse impacts identi- 
fied in Chapter 3. Mitigating measures are present- 
ed by environmental component. If an environmen- 
tal component does not appear, no mitigating 
measures were considered necessary. All meas- 
ures are considered feasible under existing technol- 
ogy and are committed to by the Bureau of Land 
Management if the proposed action is implement- 
ed. A brief evaluation of the effectiveness and re- 
sulting reduction in impacts follows each measure. 
Mitigating measures included as an integral part of 
the proposed action or which BLM must adhere to 
due to law, regulation, or agency policy are includ- 
ed in Chapter 1 and Appendix 3. A separate discus- 
sion of appropriate monitoring programs is also in- 
cluded in Chapter 4. 



MITIGATING MEASURES 



Water Resources 



1. The soil characteristics and geologic setting of 
reservoir sites would be evaluated to determine the 
possibility of leakage that could produce saline 
seeps below dams. Such evaluation could include 
test drilling in shale formations to determine if 
sandy beds would be exposed in the sides or bot- 
toms of the reservoirs. If sandy beds are found, 
relocation or sealing of the reservoir with bentonite 
or other suitable material would be considered by 
the District Manager or his authorized representa- 
tive. This would reduce the occurrence of saline 
seeps and a subsequent loss of productive range- 
land. 

2. Where shown to be necessary by hydrologic 
investigation on a case-by-case basis, spring sites 
would be protected through the use of manual 
labor instead of a backhoe during construction or 
the development of horizontal wells. This would sig- 
nificantly reduce the possibility of loss of the spring. 



Vegetation 



3. Livestock would be restricted from vegetation 
treatment sites (spraying, furrowing, plowing and 
seeding) a minimum of one full growing season and 
after seeds ripen the second growing season. This 



would allow seedlings to become firmly established 
prior to receiving grazing pressure and would pre- 
vent the disturbance of bare soil. This measure 
would reduce substantially the possibility of soil 
loss prior to revegetation. 

4. For ten allotments involving 80,053 acres and 
including 46,388 acres of public land, long term 
livestock forage projections included in proposed 
AMPs exceed average potential forage productiv- 
ity-based upon detailed soil inventory data-by 
1,661 AUMs, or 18 percent. Before implementation, 
these AMPs should be reevaluated and, where nec- 
essary, adjustments made in livestock use levels. 
This would insure that livestock stocking rates are 
accurate. 

5. Sixteen allotments which involve 112,148 acres 
(57,874 acres of which are public land) have long 
term livestock forage projections in the proposed 
AMPs larger than potential forage productivity by 
3,210 AUMs or 39 percent. Potential productivity 
estimates for these allotments were based upon 
general soil association data, with low reliability. 
Detailed soil inventories for these areas should be 
undertaken, and the subject AMPs then reevaluat- 
ed. Such a reevaluation would insure proper live- 
stock stocking rates. 

6. Five additional allotments involving 38,114 acres, 
including 18,845 acres of public land, have poten- 
tial livestock forage productivity estimates based 
upon general soil association data which are less 
than the livestock forage projections included in the 
AMPs. These, however, include greater than 10 
percent of the AMP area in critical to severe ero- 
sion condition. Before AMP implementation, de- 
tailed soil inventories should be undertaken and the 
AMPs reevaluated, with appropriate adjustments 
made in livestock use levels. This would insure the 
establishment of proper livestock stocking rates. 



Wildlife 



7. An interdisciplinary team including a wildlife bi- 
ologist and soil scientist would be involved in deter- 
mining the location, time of construction, and con- 
struction stipulations for all proposed projects. This 
would reduce the potential for negative impacts on 
wildlife from these projects and increase the oppor- 
tunity for wildlife habitat enhancement. For exam- 
ple, such a team could relocate a reservoir from an 
area where it would bring cattle into critical mule 
deer habitat to an area not critical to mule deer and 



4-1 



MITIGATING MEASURES 



where waterfowl islands could be economically 
constructed. 

8. Islands and/or waterfowl rafts would be con- 
structed on new reservoirs and existing reservoirs 
(where possible) on which the BLM resource area 
wildlife biologist determines such structures would 
lead to greater reproductive success for ducks or 
geese. While water developments associated with 
grazing systems generally benefit waterfowl, the re- 
moval of residual vegetation by grazing and the 
trampling of nests often reduce those benefits. This 
measure would allow waterfowl to better take ad- 
vantage of the benefits of reservoir construction. 



Prehistoric and Historic Features 



9. Prehistoric and historic sites would be avoided in 
most cases because of four factors: (1) the project 
areas probably have low site densities (less than 
two sites per section), (2) most projects would dis- 
turb relatively small acreages (no more than three 
acres), (3) cultural site sizes are also relatively 
small, averaging about one acre, and (4) the range 
improvement projects normally could be relocated. 
Exceptions to these cases are vegetation manipula- 
tion projects where large areas would be disturbed 
and relocation may not be possible. 

1 0. Sites which cannot be avoided would be treated 
in the following way. If the site contained significant 
remains, it would be assumed that the site would 
be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of 
Historic Places. This would require consultation with 
the State Historic Preservation Officer to determine 
eligibility for the National Register, and would re- 
quire comment from the President's Advisory Coun- 
cil on Historic Preservation when the effect of the 
project on the site is determined. If an adverse 
effect on the site is determined, it may still be 
recommended that the site be avoided and pre- 
served. Nonavoidance would necesitate information 
recovery, probably by excavation, at the site. A 
finding of no adverse effect may still be made, 
contingent upon complete excavation or other infor- 
mation recovery techniques (Figure 4-.1). If "no ad- 
verse effect" cannot be agreed upon, a memoran- 
dum of understanding would be written with the 
Advisory Council, to establish an acceptable level 
of mitigation. These mitigating measures should 
bring impacts to cultural features within an accept- 
able level. 

11. When no sites are found during inventory, but 
prehistoric or historic material is encountered during 
construction, operations would cease while the 
BLM evaluates the material. If the material repre- 
sents a significant site, it would be salvaged. Nor- 



mally, an emergency excavation would occur to re- 
cover as much cultural material as reasonably pos- 
sible. 



Visual Resources 



12. Existing vegetation, draws, and other natural 
screening would be used to reduce the visual im- 
pacts of range improvement projects. Such screen- 
ing would reduce the contrast between the project 
and the surrounding landscape significantly. 

13. All borrow material for construction of new 
dams would be taken from below the high water 
line. When the reservoir is full, this measure would 
eliminate the unnatural appearing borrow site and 
help reduce the overall visual impact of the project. 



Recreation 



14. Livestock grazing in specified high-use recrea- 
tion sites along the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic 
River would be controlled through fencing and/or 
selective grazing. An intensive inventory of these 
sites is underway. When these sites are identified, 
the affected AMPs may require revision. This action 
would eliminate many recreationist-livestock con- 
flicts. 



Wilderness 



15. Only those range improvement projects or 
range management practices with a low visual 
impact level would be considered for implementa- 
tion in a wilderness study area. Other projects or 
practices with moderate or high levels would be 
evaluated on their permanence, ease of removal or 
rehabilitation, and the ability of the site to absorb 
the impact. This would insure retention of wilder- 
ness values in wilderness study areas. 

16. Only those range improvement projects or 
range management practices with a low or moder- 
ate wilderness integrity impact level would be con- 
sidered for implementation in a wilderness study 
area. Moderate impact level projects would be eval- 
uated on their permanance, ease of removal or 
rehabilitation, and the ability of the site to absorb 
the impact. This would insure that wilderness 
values would be protected and the integrity of the 
area maintained. 

17. Contour furrowing, plowing and seeding, and 
sagebrush spraying would not be allowed in a wil- 



4-2 




* •«*» 



-ij&fo 



f**.4k- 







**9$ 



«RfsiN*. 




(a) crew performing inventory on potentially impacted site 

(b) excavation of an archaeological site 




4 I 

Figure 4-1 Mitigating measures applied in archaeology 

SOURCE: 

Leslie B. Davis, Department of Sociology, Montana State University. 



4-3 



MITIGATING MEASURES 



derness study area based on the definition of "wil- 
derness" in Section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act of 
1964. This would prevent the loss of wilderness 
integrity and visual values which would exclude the 
area from wilderness consideration. 

18. Construction of new roads requiring scraping, 
blading, or clearing of vegetation would not be al- 
lowed in a wilderness study area. A "road" would 
disqualify that area for possible "wilderness" desig- 
nation. 



STUDIES AND MONITORING 
PROGRAMS 



1. Erosion condition would be monitored. Mainte- 
nance of lands presently in stable and slight ero- 
sion condition (1,657,327 acres or 55 percent of 
the AMP acreage), and progress of improvement in 
erosion condition within the remaining acreage 
would be measured. Measurement of improvement 
in areas presently in critical to severe erosion con- 
dition (56,767 acres) is particularly important. De- 
pending upon demonstrated results, AMPs would 
be revised to implement additional grazing manage- 
ment and range improvements. Consideration of in- 
dividual soil capabilities and limitations as deter- 
mined from updated soil surveys would be essen- 
tial. 

2. Those allotments grazed at the same time each 
year would be closely monitored to assure that the 
range condition is not deteriorating. 

3. On the 95 allotments where seasonal grazing is 
prescribed, the range condition and trend will re- 
quire diligent monitoring. If any of the seasonal 
allotments are found to be deteriorating, an inten- 
sive management system would need to be imple- 
mented immediately. Further, any increase or de- 
crease in AUMs from the current licensed use must 
be accompanied with an EAR with current condition 
and trend data. 

4. Riparian habitats would be inventoried and their 
importance to wildlife evaluated in each resource 
area within two years following issuance of the doc- 
ument in final form. Through the MFP process the 
more important of such habitats would be identified 
and recommendations made. AMP revisions would 
then be made to protect those areas from grazing 
in accordance with the MFP. This protection would 
significantly benefit many wildlife species, particu- 
larly non-game birds and white-tailed deer, that 
depend on riparian habitats. According to Hormay 
(1976), "Vegetation in certain areas such as mead- 
ows and drainageways are invariably closely utilized 



under any stocking rate or system of grazing. Such 
use may be detrimental to wildlife, aesthetic or rec- 
reational, or other values. Where this is the case, 
about the only way to preserve values is to fence 
the area off from grazing; reducing livestock or ad- 
justing the grazing season will not solve such a 
problem." 

5. Where significant prehistoric or historic sites are 
known to be impacted by livestock trampling, those 
sites would be monitored on at least an annual 
basis to measure the amount of destruction occur- 
ring. If sites are being destroyed, measures (such 
as fencing) would be implemented to halt the 
impact. 

6. Construction of range improvement projects al- 
lowed within a wilderness study area should be 
monitored to insure compliance with the previously 
described mitigating measures and give on-site as- 
sistance in insuring the least amount of adverse 
impact to potential wilderness values in the area. 



4-4 



CHAPTER 5 



RESIDUAL ADVERSE IMPACTS 



CHAPTER 5 
RESIDUAL ADVERSE IMPACTS 



This chapter addresses those impacts that 
would remain after application of the mitigating 
measures from Chapter 4. 



SOILS 



Because grazing management provisions in the 
proposed action would reduce livestock grazing im- 
pacts on soils and watershed in the long term by 
an average 7 percent, no residual adverse impacts 
would be anticipated from these measures. 

Erosion losses from land disturbance due to 
construction of range improvements and water de- 
velopments total 38,086 tons. Contour furrows 
would reduce existing erosion losses by 1,690 tons, 
resulting in a net residual adverse watershed 
impact of erosion losses amounting to 36,396 tons 
of soil. 

Lands disturbed for water developments (1,352 
acres) would be permanently removed from forage 
production. Additional lands surrounding these de- 
velopments, but not presently quantified, would ex- 
perience accelerated erosion due to increased live- 
stock grazing and trampling. These latter adverse 
impacts should be outweighed by the reduction in 
such watershed damage along present drainage 
bottoms and adjacent to other present water 
sources (approximately 543,300 acres for the total 
ES area allotment acreage). 



WATER RESOURCES 



Withdrawal of water from new wells and devel- 
opment of springs would remove an insignificant 
amount of water from the aquifers. Wells that would 
tap artesian aquifers, if controlled, would not lower 
the artesian pressure surface noticeably, and re- 
charge to water-table aquifers would normally 
exceed potential withdrawals. Interception of pre- 
cipitation by rainfall catchment basins would have 
no measurable effect on ground water. Surface ma- 
nipulation, by increasing potential infiltration, would 
increase potential recharge for a short time. After 
new vegetation became established, however, re- 
charge to the aquifers would be almost the same 
as it is at present. 



Peak discharge could be reduced if the flood 
events that produce them would occur when receiv- 
ing reservoirs were empty or only partly full. A pos- 
sible unavoidable impact of peak discharge would 
be the washing out of the dam or spillway when 
reservoirs are full. Localized flooding, whose magni- 
tude would depend on the shape and vegetal cover 
of the stream valley below the dam, would be a 
possible consequence. The valley would be sub- 
jected to rapid short-lived erosion, and the acquired 
sediment would be deposited over an indeterminate 
distance downstream. 

If reservoirs would be built in sandy shale, leak- 
age may carry soluble material from the shale and 
form new saline seeps downstream from the reser- 
voir. 

The proposed reservoirs would each accumu- 
late silt and (or) clay; eventually, they could 
become filled to the extent that they would no 
longer be effective water retention facilities. Reser- 
voirs below easily eroded barren shale beds could 
become useless in 1 5 to 20 years; reservoirs below 
thickly grassed sandy slopes may contain water for 
scores of years. 



VEGETATION 



Short-term unavoidable impacts from the loss of 
forage production on 15,339 acres of sprayed, con- 
tour furrowed, and plowed and seeded lands would 
occur. Within two to three years, these lands would 
be producing more forage than before treatment, 
and in several additional years would have more 
than compensated for the lost productivity. 

Long-term unavoidable impacts would occur on 
about 1,900 acres. These acres would be perma- 
nently removed for the life of the project where 
range improvements such as wells, reservoirs, 
stock tanks, and other water developments are pro- 
posed. 

There are 72 AMPs, constituting approximately 
604,000 acres, in which seasonal grazing would be 
continued. There are also about 30,000 acres of 
unallotted lands, and 251,000 acres of public lands 
within allotments where no AMPs are proposed. As 
no change in current grazing practices is projected 
on this acreage, it will continue to be grazed as it is 
now. This in most cases involves season-long or 
continuous spring use which would adversely affect 



5-1 



RESIDUAL ADVERSE IMPACTS 



plant vigor, reproduction, seedling establishment, 
litter accumulation, and soil stability. 

Vegetation would be destroyed by construction 
equipment working on the range improvements. 
This short-term loss would be on equipment stor- 
age sites, temporary access roads, and the immedi- 
ate area around the construction sites. 



WILDLIFE 



The more uniform grazing pressure that would 
be made possible by the water developments and 
fencing that are part of the proposed action would 
cause reductions in sharp-tailed grouse and mule 
deer populations by removing residual cover and 
browse species that otherwise would not be grazed 
by livestock. These reductions cannot be quanti- 
fied, but would be significant locally. 

Successional advancement (i.e., from fair to 
good range condition class) would cause declines 
in some species of small mammals and non-game 
birds which prefer early successional stages. For 
example, changes that involve increased vegetation 
cover would reduce deer mouse populations. 

Approximately 10 to 30 big game animals 
(mostly mule deer) would die annually from entan- 
glement with the proposed 551 miles of additional 
fences. 

Over 90 percent of the proposed sagebrush 
spraying and plowing and seeding would have sig- 
nificant local negative impacts on sage grouse and 
mule deer. Some negative impacts to antelope from 
these treatments and contour furrowing are also 
possible. 

Unavoidable adverse impacts to riparian habi- 
tats would continue for at least two years until 
inventory and protection can be initiated. 

No negative impacts on endangered species are 
anticipated. If any endangered species such as per- 
egrine falcons or black-footed ferrets are observed 
in the ES area, all necessary steps to protect them 
including consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wild- 
life Service would be taken. 



PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC 
FEATURES 



The application of mitigating measures in the 
form of thorough inventory and avoidance of sites 
which would be affected by range improvement 



projects would eliminate many impacts to prehistor- 
ic or historic sites. 

Where avoidance of sites is not possible, some 
residual adverse impacts would occur. The advance 
planning and careful excavation of sites that would 
otherwise be destroyed would contribute informa- 
tion to the archaeological or historical record. How- 
ever, archaeological methods are constantly being 
improved, and those excavated sites would repre- 
sent an irretrievable resource commitment in that 
the opportunity would be lost to study the sites with 
any newly developed archaeological techniques. 

All allotments are not likely to be inventoried for 
prehistoric and historic sites within the next five or 
ten years. The impacts from livestock trampling 
therefore could not be mitigated until those sites 
were actually located. This could cause loss of val- 
uable cultural information. 

Any buried cultural material found in the course 
of construction work would probably be adversely 
impacted. The nature of archaeological excavation 
is such that slow, painstaking work is required to 
recover all possible information. Emergency exca- 
vation in a short timeframe, necessitated to mini- 
mize construction delays, would probably mean that 
all information would not be recovered to the extent 
possible with present archaeological knowledge. 
Also, these sites could not be restudied with im- 
proved methods. It is not known, however, if any 
prehistoric or historic sites would be affected in this 
way. 



VISUAL RESOURCES 



Residual adverse impacts were identified by in- 
corporating the mitigating measures developed in 
Chapter 4 into the proposed action and then 
making another contrast rating on the proposed 
range improvement projects similar to that done in 
Chapter 3. Table 5-1 displays a summary of this 
rating. The contrast ratings are indicative of the 
intensity of the residual impacts and will define in 
which VRM classes the proposed range improve- 
ment projects meet VRM objectives. 

Regardless of how successful the mitigating 
measures are, there would still be some modifica- 
tions to the basic elements resulting in unavoidable 
visual impacts to the ES area as a result of imple- 
menting the proposed action. These adverse im- 
pacts are a direct result of constructing additional 
range improvements and implementing multiple 
pasture grazing systems. 



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5-3 



RESIDUAL ADVERSE IMPACTS 



RECREATION 



In riparian areas and along shoreline areas 
where livestock grazing is allowed, impacts to hunt- 
ing and fishing opportunities associated with ad- 
verse impacts to fish and wildlife habitat would con- 
tinue. 

Conflicts between sport shooting enthusiasts 
and livestock would continue on the public lands 
within grazing allotments, presenting shooting haz- 
ards to livestock. 

Any fencing done along the Upper Missouri Wild 
and Scenic River to reduce recreationist/livestock 
conflicts would present visual intrusions adversely 
impacting the visual resource, reducing scenic 
values. 

Vegetation manipulation practices would have 
residual adverse impacts on scenic values by creat- 
ing unnatural contrasts on the landscape. 

Any range improvements placed on the public 
lands where they can be viewed by recreationists 
would produce visual intrusions adversely impacting 
the visual resource, reducing scenic values. 

In areas along the Upper Missouri Wild and 
Scenic River where livestock grazing is allowed, 
potential livestock/recreationist conflicts would 
exist or continue. 

Fence construction would create residual ad- 
verse impacts to cross-country travel by off-road 
vehicles and snowmobiles by producing hazards 
and barriers to movement. 



ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL 
CONDITIONS 



Impacts were determined to be so small that no 
mitigating measures were suggested. Many of the 
impacts would be beneficial. However, at least two 
areas show slight adverse impacts that would not 
be mitigated. 

First, licensed livestock grazing levels would be 
reduced slightly following implementation of the 
proposed action. The personal income loss of 
$39,000 would not be spread evenly among the 
nearly 400 operators, and could cause economic 
hardship to the operators of as many as 10 AMPs 
(3.1 percent). However, the full implementation of 
AMPs would increase licensed use to above pres- 
ent levels. 



Second, socio-cultural attitudes show that impo- 
sition of federal government regulations is met with 
some resentment. Although government interfer- 
ence would be somewhat mitigated by the pro- 
posed action's effects not being outside the prevail- 
ing local attitudes, some resentment of the govern- 
ment's imposed management regulation would 
probably be present. 



LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 



No significant residual adverse impacts would 
occur to land ownership. 



Livestock Grazing 



Net reduction of about 3,000 AUMs would be 
imposed upon implementation of the proposal. 
Sixty-nine allotments are scheduled for AUM cuts, 
while 27 allotments would receive increases. 



Wilderness 



Residual adverse impacts to wilderness values 
would result from the implementation of any pro- 
posed range improvement project found acceptable 
for placement in a wilderness study area. The mag- 
nitude and significance of these impacts is un- 
known because a wilderness inventory has not 
been completed on the ES area. Visual contrasts 
would be increased or changed and wilderness in- 
tegrity in an area could be lost. Table 5-2 displays 
possible residual impacts to wilderness values in 
the ES area. If a project is removed after a wilder- 
ness study area is designated as "wilderness," the 
residual adverse impact becomes zero. Projects ac- 
ceptable within a designated "wilderness" would 
continue to display those residual impacts shown in 
Table 5-2. Range improvement projects not allowed 
in a wilderness study area would also have a resid- 
ual adverse impact of zero. 

Intensities of the residual impacts in a specific 
wilderness study area would depend on the charac- 
teristics of the site. Determinations must be done 
on a case-by-case basis to avoid problems with 
over-generalizations. 



5-4 



TABLE 5-2 

Residual Adverse Impacts to Wilderness Values 
(Within Wilderness Study Areas) 



Project 

Fence 

Reservoir 

Well 

Flowing 
Pumped 

Spring Development 

Pipeline (buried) 

Stock Water Tank 

Cattleguard (project not allowed) 

Rainwater Catchment 

Type IV Fence Crossing 

Contour Furrowing (project not 
allowed) 

Plowing and Seeding (project not 
allowed) 

Sagebrush Spraying (project not 
allowed) 

Roads and Trails 

"Roads" (project not allowed) 

Other (unbladed) roads and trails 

Multiple Pasture Grazing Systems 





Wilderness 


Project- 


Visual 


Integrity 


Potentially 


Impact Level 


Impact Level 


Removable 


Low 


Moderate 


Yes 


Moderate 


Moderate 


No 


Low 


Moderate 


Yes 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Yes 


Low 


Moderate 


Yes 


Low 


Low 


No 


Low 


Moderate 


Yes 


Low 


Low 


Yes 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Yes 


Low 


Low 


Yes 


Moderate 


High 


No 


Moderate 


High 


NO 


Moderate 


High 


No 


Moderate 


High 


Yes 


; Moderate 


Moderate 


Yes 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Yes 



1/ Refers to those projects economically and technically feasible to 
remove. After removal, resulting residual impact would be zero. 

Source: Recreation Specialist, ES Team 



5-5 



CHAPTER 6 

SHORT-TERM USES VS. LONG-TERM 
PRODUCTIVITY 



CHAPTER 6 
SHORT-TERM USES VS. LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY 



This chapter analyzes the trade-offs between 
short-term use and long-term productivity of individ- 
ual resources involved in the proposal. For this 
purpose, the short term is the four-year implemen- 
tation time period, which is required to put the graz- 
ing management program into full operation. All 
scheduled activities would be in progress and phys- 
ical range improvements would be in place. Long 
term refers to the year 2000, by which time the 15 
year objectives of the AMPs would be achieved. 



Saline seeps could develop below reservoirs placed 
in sandy shale beds. The seeps would produce a 
long-term loss of productivity in localized areas, 
generally not exceeding .1 acre per reservoir, or 44 
acres for the ES area. 



VEGETATION 



SOILS 



Short-term land disturbance involving 17,244 
acres in range improvements and water develop- 
ments would remove this acreage for the projected 
four years of implementation and result in a net 
erosion loss of 36,396 tons of soil. 

Long-term watershed improvement is estimated 
at an average of 7 percent, i.e., 7 percent of the 
present acreage within each erosion class (slight, 
moderate, critical, and severe) is projected to im- 
prove to the next better condition class. Erosion 
condition improvement would reduce land area 
presently in critical or severe erosion condition by 
18,245 acres. Sedimentation for the total ES area 
allotment acreage would be reduced by 185,729 
tons annually. 

Although areas surrounding the 1,352 acres of 
water developments would experience increased 
livestock trampling damage and acceleration of 
geologic erosion by amounts not presently quanti- 
fied, a total reduction in such livestock impacts on 
soils and watershed would be experienced on 
543,300 acres surrounding present drainage bot- 
toms and other present water sources. 



WATER RESOURCES 



Impacts of the proposed action on the long-term 
productivity of water resources would be minor. 
Added use of ground water would not be notice- 
able. Storage from peak flows and annual runoff in 
reservoirs would scarcely be measurable. Evapora- 
tion from the 436 new reservoirs and the stock 
tanks would account for about 5,300 acre-feet of 
water per year throughout the life of the structures. 



Short-term adverse impacts which may result in 
a decline in vegetation condition over part of an 
allotment each year due to critical period grazing 
would be more than offset by the beneficial short- 
term impacts resulting from periods of rest. Long- 
term beneficial impacts would occur from the cumu- 
lative effects of the proposed grazing systems. 

The vegetation resource would improve in the 
long term. The proposed grazing systems would 
improve range condition and productivity with a pro- 
jected increase of about 617,000 acres of excellent 
condition range by the year 2020, and a decrease 
of about 6,000 acres of poor condition range. Also, 
by the year 2000 there is an anticipated increase of 
about 24,000 additional AUMs of forage. Construc- 
tion of the proposed range improvements would 
remove about 17,300 acres from production in the 
short term, while in the long term approximately 
2,000 acres of forage would be permanently re- 
moved for the life of the project. 



WILDLIFE 



The short-term use of forage and other re- 
sources as dictated by the proposed action would 
increase slightly the long-term overall wildlife pro- 
ductivity of the public lands within the ES area. 
Anticipated forage increases could increase general 
wildlife populations as much as 6 percent. In addi- 
tion, the 436 new reservoirs would benefit many 
species of wildlife, particularly waterfowl and other 
species dependent on aquatic habitats. However, 
local productivity losses would occur, for example, 
in areas where water developments bring livestock 
into important wildlife habitats that previously were 
ungrazed or lightly grazed. Some of the proposed 
contour furrowing and plowing and seeding would 
result in long-term productivity losses for antelope, 
sage grouse, and other species. In other areas 



6-1 



SHORT-TERM USES VS. LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY 



these treatments would increase overall wildlife 
productivity. 



would benefit most recreational activities in the ES 
area over the long term. 



PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC 
FEATURES 



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
CONDITIONS 



If 54 archaeological sites or an unknown 
number of historical sites are impacted, only short- 
term use could be made of the sites. Long-term 
productivity would be limited because the sites 
would be excavated and then destroyed by con- 
struction of the range improvement. The informa- 
tion contained in the sites would not be completely 
lost, because records of the excavation would be 
preserved. However, the sites could not be restu- 
died, using later advances in archaeological or his- 
torical methodology. On the other hand, most im- 
pacts could be avoided by relocating range im- 
provements (see Chapter 4, Mitigating Measures). 
In this case, no long term productivity would be 
lost. 



Overall impacts to economic and social condi- 
tions by the proposed action would be negligible. 
Increases in personal income would amount to 0.6 
percent as measured from the 1980 base in the 
short term. This percentage reflects the immediate 
reduction in livestock expenditures offset by the 
increases in construction expenditures to imple- 
ment the proposed AMPs. Over the long term, 
income changes from the 1980 base would total 
0.3 percent annually. Employment would increase 
0.5 percent during the period 1980 to 1983, but 
would average only 0.2 percent the long run. 



LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 



VISUAL RESOURCES 



Livestock Grazing 



Implementation of the proposed action would 
create short-term disruptions to visual quality in the 
ES area due to soil and vegetation disturbances 
and visual contrasts created between rest and use 
pastures. 

Over the long term, soil and vegetation condi- 
tions would improve and diminish short-term im- 
pacts. Extensive scarring of soil and rock caused 
by range management activities would be difficult to 
rehabilitate and would be visible for several years. 
Any range improvement projects which would pro- 
duce significant visual contrasts with the natural 
landscape would present long-term adverse im- 
pacts to the visual resource throughout the life of 
the project. 



RECREATION 



Implementation of the proposed action would 
create short-term impacts to recreational sightsee- 
ing activities by placing intrusions on the landscape 
(range improvement projects). These impacts would 
be most severe during the construction phases. 
Improvements in soil and vegetation conditions 



In the short term, livestock grazing use will be 
reduced by 2,899 AUMs or less than 1 percent of 
the current licensed use. Long-term productivity will 
increase by 22,004 AUMs or 7 percent of the cur- 
rent licensed use. Numbers of allotments and live- 
stock operators are expected to remain relatively 
stable during the short term as well as the long 
term. 



Wilderness 



Short-term adverse impacts to wilderness integ- 
rity and wilderness scenic values would result from 
placement of range improvement projects and im- 
plementation of the proposed grazing systems in 
the ES area. Over the long term, expected improve- 
ments in soil and vegetation resulting from imple- 
mentation of the proposed action would enhance 
wilderness values by somewhat decreasing short- 
term adverse impacts. Those short-term adverse 
impacts to wilderness values associated with range 
improvement projects would continue into the long 
term, decreasing slightly over time. 



6-2 



CHAPTER 7 



IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE 
COMMITMENTS OF RESOURCES 



CHAPTER 7 



IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENTS OF 

RESOURCES 



This chapter identifies the extent to which the 
proposed action would irreversibly curtail the poten- 
tial uses of the land and resources. In this context 
the term irreversible is defined as incapable of 
being reversed. Once initiated, use would continue. 
The term irretrievable means irrecoverable; not rea- 
sonably retrievable; once used, it is not replace- 
able. 



SOILS 



Disturbance of 17,244 acres in range improve- 
ments would result in the net irretrievable erosion 
loss of 36,396 tons of soil. Lands permanently 
committed to water developments (1,352 acres) 
would also be irretrievable. 



gained if the management decision were made to 
allow restoration of the original environmental con- 
ditions. Local and/or temporary losses to wildlife 
populations, for example, from reservoir construc- 
tion or sagebrush spraying would be irretrievable. 



PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC 
FEATURES 



Excavation or destruction of prehistoric sites 
would be irretrievable resource commitments. No 
further information beyond what was collected 
before destruction or during excavation could be 
obtained in the future. Historic sites would be simi- 
larly affected. 



WATER RESOURCES 



VISUAL RESOURCES 



Consumptive use of water by livestock, transpir- 
ation of water by plants, and evaporation of water 
from reservoir surfaces would be irretrievable and 
essentially irreversible losses. 



VEGETATION 



Any permanent scarring of surface soil, rock, 
erosional patterns, or geologic features as a result 
of implementation of the proposed action would 
create irretrievable losses in the visual quality of 
the ES area. Any range improvement projects 
which intrude on the natural landscape would pro- 
duce irretrievable commitments of the visual re- 
source during the life of the project. 



Irreversible commitments of the vegetation re- 
source as a result of the proposed action would 
include that land removed from productivity by the 
installation of various projects, such as wells and 
stock tanks, while irretrievable commitments of the 
vegetation resource would be limited to those indi- 
vidual plants lost during construction of the various 
projects. 



RECREATION 



Any displacement of wildlife, increased live- 
stock/ recreationist conflicts, or restriction of move- 
ment for recreationists would result in an irretriev- 
able loss of opportunities. 



WILDLIFE 



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC 
CONDITIONS 



The proposed action would not result in any 
long-term irreversible commitments of wildlife re- 
sources. The basic productivity of the soil would 
generally be retained and local losses, for example, 
to antelope from sagebrush spraying could be re- 



Over a short time period, the capital and labor 
invested in construction of range improvements 
would be irretrievably committed. Also the fossil 
fuels used by construction equipment, and materi- 
als such as well casing that cannot be salvaged, 



7-1 



IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENTS OF RESOURCES 



represent an irretrievable resource commitment. 
The amount of labor, materials, and capital involved 
would be small, relative to the total for the counties 
in which the work would be done. 



LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE 



Livestock Grazing 



The proposed action does not totally commit 
the grazing resource. All AMPs do have provisions 
for revision and updating. Monitoring of AMPs will 
provide a basis for revisions and/or adjustments. 



Wilderness 



Each range improvement project and range 
management activity would be analyzed for adverse 
impacts to wilderness values, and only those activi- 
ties which would not result in a permanent loss of 
these values which would be allowed in a wilder- 
ness study area. No irretrievable losses of wilder- 
ness values are anticipated in the ES area as a 
result of the proposed action. A temporary irretriev- 
able commitment of wilderness values would occur 
as a result of implementation of any range improve- 
ment project found acceptable in a wilderness 
study area or in a designated wilderness area 
during the life of that project. 



7-2 



CHAPTER 8 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



CHAPTER 8 
ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



This chapter presents four alternatives to the 
proposed action. These alternatives include (a) 
continuation of the Bureau of Land Management's 
present grazing program (no action), (b) elimination 
of livestock on public lands, (c) reduced levels of 
livestock use, and (d) livestock forage maximiza- 
tion. A summary of major comparison factors for 
each alternative is presented in Table 8-1. Compari- 
son factors have been quantified when practical. 
Where change is discussed in narrative form, the 
reference point for determining change is the exist- 
ing situation. Implementation phase refers to the 
period 1980-1984 when the proposed grazing man- 
agement program would be initiated. Table 8-1 dis- 
plays comparative changes so the reader and the 
decisionmaker can determine the relative impact of 
each alternative compared to the existing situation 
and the proposed action. 

The following discussion provides a more de- 
tailed impact analysis for each alternative. 



ALTERNATIVE A: 
CONTINUATION OF THE 
PRESENT GRAZING 
MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: (NO 
ACTION) 



Description 



This is the "no action" alternative and proposes 
continuation of the present grazing management 
program. The existing level of livestock use would 
remain unchanged (294,401 AUMs for AMP areas 
and 57,896 AUMs for non-AMP areas). No new 
range improvements would be constructed; howev- 
er, existing range improvements would be main- 
tained. This alternative assumes continued oper- 
ation of the 52 existing AMPs within the ES area. 
No revisions would be made to existing AMPs. Al- 
though the BLM had initiated approximately five 
AMPs per year in the ES area from 1965 through 
1975, this trend would not continue. Additional 
maintenance dollars and manpower for range use 
studies and supervision would be necessary before 
additional AMPs could be implemented and moni- 
tored efficiently. Therefore, this alternative assumes 
implementation of no new AMPs. This alternative 
assumes continued licensing of livestock use at 
present levels on all non-AMP allotments. In addi- 



tion, unallotted status on approximately 30,612 
acres of public land would continue. Trespass con- 
trol through range use supervision would continue. 
Present levels of manpower and funding would 
remain unchanged. 



Soils 



With continuation of the Bureau of Land Man- 
agement's present grazing program, watershed 
conditions would decline. Livestock trampling in- 
duced compaction conditions with decreases in 
water infiltration and available water capacity - 
presently rated as fair overall, and poor in major 
drainage bottoms and near present water develop- 
ments-would deteriorate slightly over the long 
term. 

Five percent downward shifts from present ero- 
sion condition class acreages also would be reflect- 
ed (see Table 8-1). Lands in critical to severe con- 
dition, presently estimated at 278,487 acres, would 
increase to approximately 329,779 acres. 

Sedimentation in ES area streams also would 
experience an average increase of five percent, up 
132,6673 tons from the present 2,653,259 tons. 
Arrow Creek, especially, would continue to contrib- 
ute significant sediment loads to the Missouri River 
drainage into Fort Peck Reservoir. 

Trail incision would continue, at rates not pres- 
ently quantified by monitoring. 

Of all alternatives considered, continuation of 
the present grazing program is the least beneficial 
in long-term consideration of watershed values. 



Water Resources 



Maintaining present patterns of livestock use 
would have slight impacts on water resources. Infil- 
tration rates would decrease slightly from present, 
unquantified levels due to compaction by livestock 
trampling and vegetation cover reduction due to 
livestock grazing. Aquifer recharge or depletion 
would experience no significant change. 

Average annual runoff-associated with de- 
creased infiltration rates-would experience a slight 
average increase overall. No significant change in 
peak discharge would be expected, however. 
Chemical quality of surface water would not change 



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8-9 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



significantly. Biological quality, reflected by present- 
ly unquantified fecal coliform bacteria levels, would 
decrease slightly, especially in drainages where 
livestock presently congregate. 



Vegetation 

There would be no short-term impacts as there 
is no term, range condition would continue to im- 
prove on the 17 AMP allotments indicating an 
upward trend. Those 22 allotments presently deter- 
mined to be static could potentially either improve 
or decline. The following acreage by condition class 
includes those AMPs that have gone through at 
least one grazing cycle: 

Range Condition Class 

Trend Excellent Good Fair Poor Total 

Upward 70,479 159,652 43,860 1,195 825,558 

Static 20,286 165,476 80,417 3,035 841,056 

Non-AMP allotments that are presently in poor 
to fair condition would remain so, and those allot- 
ments that are declining in range condition would 
continue to deteriorate without a change in grazing 
management. Those allotments that are presently 
in good to excellent condition or are improving 
would remain the same or continue to improve. 

Adverse impacts on vegetation in the non-AMP 
areas which are slated for AMP implementation 
under the proposed action would result from the 
decrease in production, lowered plant vigor, de- 
creased ground cover, and a change in composi- 
tion to less desirable species. The more palatable 
plant species and livestock concentration areas 
would continue to receive heavy, continuous graz- 
ing pressure and would be the most severely im- 
pacted. Less desirable plant species would in- 
crease within most of the non-AMP allotments. 

Overall, long-term range condition would gener- 
ally be expected to decline in those allotments not 
already under a grazing system and which are not 
presently in an upward or stable trend. Range con- 
dition problems will intensify through time if the 
present grazing management program is continued. 
This alternative is one of the least beneficial of the 
options available for vegetation as it would not sub- 
stantially change the identified problem areas (see 
Appendix 10). Ranges presently in good to excel- 
lent range condition, but in a downward trend, 
would continue to deteriorate. This deterioration 
process would continue primarily on the selectively 
grazed sites, such as watering areas, coulee bot- 
toms, and other readily accessible sites. 

Because no threatened or endangered plant 
species are known to exist within the ES area, the 
possibility of impacting any officially recognized 
species by any of the alternatives is remote. 



Wildlife 



Most wildlife populations would suffer slight de- 
clines under this alternative. As explained in the 
introduction to Chapter 3, it is anticipated that there 
would be a decrease of approximately five percent 
in available forage if no changes in the current 
grazing system are implemented. This general dete- 
rioration of range conditions would negatively 
impact most wildlife populations; however, most of 
these declines would be undetectable with currently 
available wildlife census techniques. No impact on 
the endangered black-footed ferret or peregrine 
falcon would be anticipated under this alternative. 
The wild or semi-wild horses in southern Blaine 
County would not be affected. 



Prehistoric and Historic Features 



Under this alternative, livestock trampling of pre- 
historic and historic features would continue occur- 
ring. No new range improvements would be con- 
structed, so impacts would not increase. Chapter 2, 
Prehistoric and Historic Features, noted that 60 
percent of recorded sites are in a deteriorating con- 
dition. Although studied have not quantified the 
numbers involved, livestock trampling and resultant 
erosion were factors listed in the site deterioration. 
This type of impact would continue to affec some 
prehistoric and historic sites under this alternative, 
particularly over the long term. 

In most respects, conditions under this alterna- 
tive would be similar to those described in Chapter 
2. Sixty percent of the sites, which probably number 
between 3,400 and 5,000, would continue in a de- 
teriorating trend. 



Visual Resources 



Implementation of this alternative would require 
placement of no new range improvement projects 
on the range, thus no additional adverse impacts to 
the visual resource would result. Areas currently 
being adversely impacted due to livestock manage- 
ment practices would continue to deteriorate, de- 
creasing the visual quality in these areas. Livestock 
would continue to concentrate in riparian areas and 
along shorelines regardless of the grazing manage- 
ment system, unless they were fenced out. In the 
short term, this alternative would be less detrimen- 
tal to the visual resource then the proposed action 
because no new visual contrasts in form, line, 
color, or texture would be created through con- 



8-10 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



struction of additional range improvement projects. 
In the long term (15 years), adverse visual impacts 
resulting from continuation of existing grazing prac- 
tices would gradually increase. 



Recreation 



The major adverse impacts to hunting would be 
a continued decrease in wildlife habitat in areas 
where livestock tend to congregate-in riparian 
zones and near water sources. This could decrease 
game populations and reduce hunting opportunities. 

Currently, livestock concentrate near water 
sources where they damage shoreline vegetation. If 
that water source supports a fishery, increased 
sedimentation and loss of shoreline vegetation re- 
sulting from present grazing practices could pro- 
duce a loss in cover, food, and spawning areas for 
fish, and could decrease fishing opportunities. 

Because this alternative would require no new 
range improvements which would be additional haz- 
ards or restrictions to movement, adverse impacts 
to off-road vehicle use would not be increased. 

At the present time, a majority of the floatboat- 
ing use in the ES area occurs on the Upper Mis- 
souri Wild and Scenic River. The major impacts to 
floatboating would be focused on the other recre- 
ational activities normally done in conjuction with 
floatboating-fishing, picnicking, camping, and sight- 
seeing. The major adverse impacts to these associ- 
ated activities would result from livestock concen- 
trations near water sources and floatboating areas. 
Overgrazing and trampling in this areas would pro- 
duce increased sedimentation and erosion, and 
loss of cover, food, and spawning areas for fish. 
The presence of livestock along floatboating areas 
would also increase livestock/recreationist con- 
flicts, especially in picnicking and overnight camp- 
ing areas. Because the continuation alternative 
makes no provisions to reduce these impacts, it 
would be the most detrimental alternative to float- 
boating activities. 

Ease of movement, shooting hazards, and avail- 
ability of sport shooting opportunities would be im- 
pacted by this alternative. In most cases, this alter- 
native has slightly higher stocking rates than the 
proposed action, which would slightly increase 
shooting hazards. Because no additional fences 
would be required in this alternative, no additional 
adverse impacts to ease of movement of sport 
shooters would occur. 



Economic and Social Conditions 



This alternative would cause no changes in pre- 
vent livestock management, and would require no 
additional construction or employment. It would, 
however, have a long term effect on economic and 
social factors. The changes in the economy would 
result from degradation of grazing conditions where 
allotment management plans projected for the pro- 
posed action predict a long term decrease if man- 
agement is not implemented. An eventual loss of 
about 13,300 AUMs is predicted, which in 1980 
dollars amounts to an annual loss of income to ES 
area ranchers of $203,000. 

This decrease only reflects a portion of the im- 
pacts that might occur if this alternative is chosen 
instead of the proposed action. All ranchers must 
have private base property to lease grazing rights 
on BLM land. The allotment management plans 
assume joint management of private and public 
land to guide grazing practices and schedules. Ad- 
ditional income (which is not quantifiable due to 
lack of data on private lands) would also be lost 
from reductions in AUMs on private land. Also, the 
proposed action projects additional annual income 
in 1980 dollars of $284,000. Therefore from public 
land alone the actual loss in income plus missed 
opportunity from not instituting allotment manage- 
ment plans would be $487,000 annually. 

In addition, employment opportunities would be 
lost. The proposed action carries with it a projection 
of 30 new employees within the livestock sector. 
This alternative would instead cause 21 jobs to be 
lost, for a difference between actual loss and 
missed opportunity of 51 jobs. 



Land Ownership and Use 



Livestock Grazing 

Under this alternative, there would not be any 
significant changes in the livestock operations of 
the ES area. Current trends as discussed in Chap- 
ter 2 would prevail and the limiting factors on live- 
stock grazing would result from supply and demand 
situation as related to current and future market 
prices. Numbers of livestock would not change sig- 
nificantly. Changes from sheep to cattle would 
probably continue at the present rate for the next 
four to five years. 



8-11 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Wilderness 

The major adverse impacts to wilderness values 
associated with the continuation of the present 
grazing management program alternative would in- 
clude visual impacts and degradation of wilderness 
integrity created by the presence of range improve- 
ments and livestock management activities. Howev- 
er, this alternative would be more desirable from a 
wilderness standpoint than would the proposed 
action, the reduction alternative, or the forage maxi- 
mization alternative, which would all require addi- 
tional range improvement projects. 



ALTERNATIVE B: ELIMINATION 
OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING ON 
PUBLIC LANDS 



Description 



This alternative assumes elimination of domestic 
livestock grazing on approximately 2,169,000 acres 
of public lands including 350,452 AUMs. No new 
AMPs would be implemented, and all existing 
AMPs would be terminated. Because private and 
public lands are mixed throughout large portions of 
the ES area (only 26 percent of the ES area is 
public land), extensive fencing would be necessary 
to control livestock trespass on public lands. On 
private land in Montana, livestock must be fenced 
"out" in order to sustain a trespass charge. But, 
because the federal government is the landowner 
in this case, BLM could not be legally compelled to 
fence. However, as a practical matter, an extensive 
amount of fencing by BLM would be necessary to 
prevent livestock use of public lands. The amount 
of fencing necessary has not been quantified; how- 
ever, it can be assumed that many thousands of 
miles of fence would be needed. The large magni- 
tude of a public land fencing effort can be roughly 
envisioned by review of Map 2-22, Land Ownership. 
A major BLM workload would become the monitor- 
ing of public land use. No range improvements 
would be maintained or constructed unless neces- 
sary for other resource programs such as wildlife or 
watershed. 



Soils 



Elimination of livestock from public lands would 
eliminate degradation of drainage bottoms and 
areas around water sources from compaction ef- 



fects, accelerated erosion, and sedimentation in- 
creases due to livestock grazing. 

Incised trails in most areas where slopes do not 
exceed 20 percent would improve moderately. 

Without livestock grazing, plants would initially 
respond with increased vigor, with resulting in- 
creased ground cover and litter formation, thus re- 
ducing bare ground and erosion potential. However, 
grass species would stagnate eventually at less 
than full growth potential without the growth stimu- 
lation offered by grazing. 

Watershed consequences of stagnated vegeta- 
tion growth are not well documented. Elimination of 
grazing, while better for watershed values than con- 
tinuation of the present grazing program, would not 
have the vegetation stimulation effects of alterna- 
tives involving reduced livestock use, or proposed 
rest rotations and grazing deferral. 

Rapid short-term responses would be observed 
in major drainages where present erosion condition 
is classified as critical to severe. Long-term im- 
provement in erosion condition class acreages, and 
in sedimentation reductions, is estimated at an 
average of 10 percent, with the most significant 
gains occurring in major drainages where livestock 
presently tend to congregate. Lands in critical to 
severe erosion condition should decrease 27,849 
acres from the present estimate of 278,487 acres. 
Sedimentation should be reduced 265,326 tons, 
from the present 2,653,259 tons (see Table 8-1). 
The most significant reduction in sedimentation 
would occur in the Arrow Creek drainage where 
soils with high clay content have very severe water 
erosion hazard. 

Estimates of 10 percent average watershed im- 
provement over 1 5 years are based upon expected 
increases in litter and vegetation cover, and de- 
creases in percent bare ground, as correlated with 
ES area study plot findings of Willard and Herman 
1977. These changes parallel those expected for 
range condition shifts, with added watershed values 
derived from litter accumulation (see Vegetation 
section, Chapter 8). 

Silty range sites which have blue grama and 
clubmoss as dominant species-less than 20 per- 
cent of the total AMP area -would not be expected 
to change appreciably with removal of livestock. 
Clubmoss vegetation growth has extremely high 
percent ground cover, nearly eliminating surface 
soil movement. These areas are in stable to slight 
erosion condition classes, and would remain so in 
the long term. 



8-12 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Water Resources 



Elimination of livestock grazing would have no 
significant impact on water resources in the short 
term. Slight water resource improvement in the long 
term would occur. Infiltration rates would increase 
as freeze/thaw soil action eliminates compaction 
effects of livestock trampling. This infiltration in- 
crease, while slightly significant overall, would be of 
moderate significance in drainages where livestock 
presently congregate. Aquifers, as a result, would 
be recharged slightly. 

Average annual runoff would be slightly reduced 
overall, with the increased infiltration due to elimi- 
nated livestock trampling. Increased vegetation 
cover, another result of livestock elimination, also 
would slightly reduce runoff, overall. 

Chemical quality of surface waters would not be 
expected to change overall. Biological quality would 
improve slightly overall, and improve moderately in 
drainages where livestock presently congregate. 



Vegetation 



In southern British Columbia, McLean and Tis- 
dale (1972) indicated relatively little stand improve- 
ment will occur on depleted ranges during the first 
10 years under complete protection from livestock. 
However, after 25 years of protection, they found 
that total forage yields increased by about 1 00 per- 
cent, primarily due to increases in abundance of 
climax perennial grasses. But when comparing a 
protected area with areas subjected to grazing, 
Reardon and Merrill (1976) found that, at the end 
of 20 years, decreaser plant forage yields and litter 
accumulations were lower on ungrazed natural 
areas than under deferred rotation and light graz- 
ing. They suggested that decreaser plants need 
some type of grazing in order to remain vigorous 
and productive. Further, long periods of complete 
rest are not usually an economical form of range 
rehabilitation (McLean and Tisdale 1972). 

The greatest range condition improvement 
would occur with total elimination of livestock on 
those areas presently grazed annually during the 
spring and early summer months. Range in poor 
(37,462 acres) or fair (599,708 acres) condition 
takes longer to show an improvement than range in 
good condition (1,661,904 acres) (see Table 3-5); 
therefore, the worst condition range is not likely to 
increase more than one condition class by the year 
2000, especially where significant soil erosion has 
occurred and where average annual precipitation is 
10 to 14 inches. 



Silty range sites dominated by blue grama and 
clubmoss, which accounts for less than 20 percent 
of the ES area, would not be expected to change 
appreciably in 35 to 50 years. However, with the 
complete elimination of livestock grazing, perennial 
grasses would be favored on most other silty range 
sites. 

Plant vigor would be enhanced initially, but by 
removing the plant growth stimulus provided by 
moderate grazing, vigor would eventually decline 
(Weaver and Rowland 1952). Decadent stands of 
grasses and shrubs that would develop are essen- 
tially unusable, or at least less desirable to wildlife 
herbivores. 

Therefore, although this alternative would initial- 
ly be extremely beneficial to both range condition 
and productivity over the first 20 to 35 years, it 
would be one of the least desirable beyond that 
time period (see Appendix 10). 

Riparian vegetation in areas such as along 
meadows, drainageways, and rivers will continue to 
be closely utilized by livestock regardless of grazing 
system or stocking level. Therefore, about the only 
way to preserve riparian sites is to fence these 
areas off from grazing (Hormay 1976). These sites 
could then be grazed periodically at the discretion 
of the land manager depending on management 
objectives. This alternative, eliminating livestock 
from public lands, is the only other means of pro- 
viding protection for these critical range sites. 



Wildlife 



In the short term following implementation of 
this alternative, many species of wildlife would 
benefit from increased vegetation diversity and 
available forage. In areas such as portions of the 
southern part of the Musselshell Planning Unit 
where public land is scattered in parcels of a sec- 
tion or less, the areas of ungrazed public land 
would contrast sharply with adjacent grazed private 
land and would provide a unique and diverse 
mosaic of habitats that would provide long-term 
benefits to most wildlife species. However, much of 
the public land within the ES area, particularly in 
the areas of the AMPs, consists of relatively large 
blocks of public land. If cattle were removed from 
these areas, vegetational succession would pro- 
ceed toward climax types that are suboptimal for 
many wildlife species (although optimal for others). 
Historic disturbances such as fire and bison grazing 
which produce favorable subclimax communities for 
many species of wildlife would be less frequent 
than they were prior to the introduction of livestock 
(McHugh 1972). The net result would be population 



8-13 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



levels for most species slightly or moderately above 
current levels, but considerably below the levels 
possible when grazing is designed to meet wildlife 
needs (see Alternative C - Reduced Levels of Live- 
stock Use). 

The extensive fencing that this alternative would 
require would be detrimental to big game move- 
ments. Although data are not available, estimates 
for other areas (U.S. Department of the Interior, 
Bureau of Land Management 1977b and 1977c) 
indicate that probably a hundred or more deer and/ 
or antelope would be killed annually through entan- 
glements with fences. 

Because of the well-blocked federal ownership 
in the vicinity of Ervin Ridge in southern Blaine 
County, there would be little fencing in that area. 
Thus, the wild or semi-wild horses, if permitted to 
roam, would increase several fold due to the in- 
creased available forage. 

Mule deer would increase slightly under this al- 
ternative due to the elimination of grazing in impor- 
tant winter and year-round habitat. White-tailed 
deer would experience a larger increase than mule 
deer because of their greater dependence on ripar- 
ian areas and the very large improvement in ripar- 
ian habitat anticipated under this alternative. The 
carrying capacity for elk would increase due to in- 
creased available forage, particularly grasses. How- 
ever, the ability of elk to respond to this change 
would depend upon hunting pressure as influenced 
by landowner attitudes toward increased elk popu- 
lations. Antelope populations would show a slight 
increase due to reduced competition with livestock; 
however, the increase would be minimized by the 
impact of greatly increased fencing and succession- 
al changes that would reduce the availability of 
forbs which are an important part of their diet. 

Sharp-tailed grouse would show moderate im- 
provements due mainly to greatly improved residual 
cover for nesting. Sage grouse would show some 
improvement, but less than sharp-tailed grouse be- 
cause they are more dependent upon sagebrush 
(which would decrease slightly because of succes- 
sion toward grass) and less dependent on residual 
grass cover. Waterfowl would benefit considerably 
from increased residual vegetation for nesting 
cover (Kirsch 1969). There would be some water- 
fowl losses as water sources were lost through lack 
of maintenance, but in balance this alternative 
would benefit waterfowl even more than the pro- 
posed action. 

Since the amount of forage available for live- 
stock would no longer be an important concern on 
public lands, attempts to control prairie dogs (the 
primary prey species of the endangered black- 
footed ferret) would be reduced. However, since 



increased average grass height would reduce op- 
portunities for prairie dog expansion (U.S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, Forest Service 1978), the net 
impact of this alternative on the ferret would be 
only slightly beneficial. Generally improved condi- 
tions for small non-game birds, particularly in ripar- 
ian areas, would result in a slight improvement of 
overall conditions for the endangered peregrine 
falcon. 



Prehistoric and Historic Features 

All impacts to both historic and prehistoric fea- 
tures directly relating to grazing management would 
be eliminated, both in the short and long term. No 
impacts would result from construction or imple- 
mentation of range improvements except from addi- 
tional fencing. Ground disturbance from fencing is 
minimal except where grading is necessary to con- 
struct fencelines. Any impacts caused by cattle di- 
rectly -such as trampling-would cease. Cultural re- 
sources would probably remain in better condition 
than they would under either the proposed action 
or continuation of the present program. 

Some natural degradation of prehistoric and his- 
toric resources would continue to occur. The princi- 
pal causes of these impacts would be wind and 
water erosion. 



Visual Resources 



Due to the scattered ownership of most of the 
public lands in the ES area, implementation of this 
alternative would require construction of numerous 
new fences to keep livestock from trespassing on 
public lands. The fenceline contrasts between un- 
grazed BLM land and grazed private lands would 
be detrimental to the visual quality of the area. 
Because the proposed action would require less 
fence construction, even though additional range 
improvement projects were required, it would be 
more desirable from a scenic standpoint than a no 
grazing situation, primarily because fenceline con- 
trasts would be, in most cases, more apparent to 
the viewer than would individual range improvement 
projects. 



Recreation 



This alternative would be very favorable from a 
recreational standpoint because all adverse im- 
pacts directly related to livestock grazing would be 



8-14 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



eliminated. The additional fencing required to imple- 
ment this alternative would create barriers to move- 
ment and increase fenceline contrasts between un- 
grazed BLM lands and grazed private lands. Clos- 
ing the public lands to livestock grazing could 
cause livestock operators to deny access across 
their private lands to isolated public land segments. 
This would essentially eliminate any recreational 
opportunities that may exist on these lands. 

The adverse impacts to hunting opportunities 
described for the proposed action and the other 
alternatives would not occur for the elimination of 
livestock grazing alternative with the sole exception 
of restrictions to ease of movement resulting from 
construction of additional fences. Because gates 
would likely be placed in these fences on most 
access roads on public lands, this adverse impact 
would be minimal. An immediate short-term in- 
crease in vegetation growth in the absence of live- 
stock grazing would benefit most huntable game 
species and would likely increase hunting opportu- 
nities. As ungrazed areas would approach climax 
vegetation, huntable species which would rely on 
grasses for food would benefit, while those depend- 
ent on forbs and shrubs for food would be adverse- 
ly impacted. A potential decrease in numbers of 
forb and shrub dependent species would create a 
loss of hunting opportunities for those species. The 
overall long term impact to hunting opportunities 
would vary with the game species. 

A reduction in sedimentation and erosion and 
an increase in shoreline vegetation should improve 
habitat and could potentially increase both fish 
numbers and fishing opportunities in waters on 
public land. 

Because fences would be required to implement 
this alternative, movement of off-road vehicles 
would be restricted. Gates would be placed on 
most roads and trails and would not prohibit off- 
road vehicle (ORV) road use. Increased vegetation 
growth within ungrazed pastures could hide hazards 
such as large rocks, holes, and ditches which could 
be dangerous to the ORV users. 

This alternative would benefit fisheries and other 
floatboating associated activities by eliminating ad- 
verse impacts to shoreline areas caused by live- 
stock concentrations. Opportunities to view wildlife 
on public lands could also increase. Although fen- 
celine contrasts would increase due to implementa- 
tion of this alternative, scenic values would in- 
crease along the shoreline areas due to substantial 
improvements in vegetation growth. 

Eliminating livestock grazing would benefit sport 
shooting by reducing shooting hazards. Additional 
fencing could restrict movement of shooters to 
some degree, but because gates would be con- 



structed on most roads, this adverse impact would 
be minimal. 



Economic and Social Conditions 



Elimination of grazing would have a moderate 
impact on the total nine-county area economy, and 
a major impact within the ES area. Using a 1980 
base, as projected by BLM's DYRAM model (see 
Chapter 3 and Appendix 9 for Economic and Social 
Conditions for a discussion of DYRAM), the elimina- 
tion of grazing would cause a permanent loss of 
$5,413,000 in annual personal income in the nine- 
county area. 

Total personal income in 1980 from livestock 
operations is estimated at $94,309,000 in the nine 
county area. The loss in income from elimination of 
grazing constitutes 5.7 percent of this total. This 
reduction would have a moderately negative effect 
on the remainder of the economy. Secondary ef- 
fects of this cut in grazing would amount to 
$811,000 annually. This would lead to a loss in 
personal income of $6,224,000, or 1.5 percent of 
total annual income. 

The impact on individual ranch operations would 
be much more severe. Within the ES area 400 
operators depend in part upon BLM land for graz- 
ing. This is 10 percent of the total ranches with 
range pastureland in the nine ES area counties. 
Within the ES boundaries, the percentage of ranch- 
ers using BLM grazing lands is much higher, al- 
though the exact number is not available. It is prob- 
able that the operations of most of the 400 opera- 
tors would not be viable without some grazing on 
BLM lands. The effect of this alternative could be 
to force many ranchers in the ES area out of busi- 
ness. The probable long-term effect would be to 
force consolidation of existing ranches, thus in- 
creasing the trend to smaller numbers of family- 
owned ranches and loss of population in this rural 
area. With existing land prices, a large amount of 
capital would be necessary to consolidate, even 
further jeopardizing the ability of family-owned oper- 
ations to be able to continue in business. 

In most cases, the alternative for small ranchers 
to supplement their income by taking outside work 
does not exist in this area. Most of the ranches are 
in remote areas that have poor transportation sys- 
tems (dirt or gravel secondary roads) and are often 
40 to 60 miles from the nearest towns. Thus, alter- 
nate employment opportunities would be severely 
limited. 

Another effect of elimination of grazing would be 
the reduction in the supply of beef cattle and 
sheep. This could raise the price of beef and lamb 



8-15 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



to consumers, although the exact amount is not 
available and would probably be very small to negli- 
gible. 

Compared to the proposed action and other al- 
ternatives, other sectors would lose the opportunity 
for personal income gain. There would be no range 
improvements constructed, and therefore no addi- 
tional construction personal income. However, 
much additional fencing would be required, generat- 
ing a presently unquantifiable amount of personal 
income. Government employment would probably 
not change, and no additional personal income 
from that sector would be realized. 

It is not possible to quantify changes in recrea- 
tion income. On one hand, elimination of grazing 
would probably increase wildlife numbers. However, 
imposing this alternative on the local ranchers may 
well result in closure of much private land which 
provides access to federal lands. Therefore, it is 
not possible to quantify the changes in hunting ex- 
penditures. 

Agricultural employment would drop by 564 an- 
nually and 65 additional jobs that are dependent on 
the agricultural sector would be lost. This does not 
take into account the probability of many ranch 
closures. 

The effect on social well-being and public fi- 
nance is not quantifiable, but would also be nega- 
tive. There would probably be some loss in popula- 
tion resulting from reduced employment opportuni- 
ties and a loss in taxable value. This would reduce 
the ability of counties and states to provide serv- 
ices, and could adversely affect most of the factors 
of social well-being discussed in Chapter 2, Eco- 
nomic and Social Conditions (i.e., persons per phy- 
sician, family income, employment). 

Socio-cultural attitudes could be expected to be 
almost uniformly against elimination of grazing. The 
attitudes expressed in favor of agriculture and the 
general conservative pattern that includes resis- 
tance to major governmental interference would be 
outraged. Within the local region, federal policy and 
actions would be expected to lose much support. 



ods within each operation to the extent that many 
operators could be forced to sell out or convert to 
cropland farming. 

In the short term, the public lands would have a 
large increase in forage production. Wildlife popula- 
tions such as elk, deer, and antelope would be 
expected to increase rapidly and create additional 
impacts upon private lands, especially in areas of 
critical winter range. 

Trespass (unauthorized livestock use) would be 
another serious problem and would create a need 
to fence all public lands. While fencing would aid in 
controlling trespass, a BLM workload would be to 
insure that gates were closed at all times and to 
ride or fly public lands to detect trespass. 

This alternative would undoubtedly cause a sig- 
nificant number of legal actions due to the long 
standing grazing privileges authorized by the Taylor 
Grazing Act of 1934, and economic disruptions to 
the 400 affected operators. The policy stated in the 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 
that public lands will be managed in a manner 
which recognizes the nation's need for food and 
fiber, among other resources, may make the action 
of eliminating grazing difficult to sustain. 



Wilderness 

This alternative would be the most desirable 
from a wilderness standpoint because no additional 
range improvement projects would be required. 
Also, all existing range improvements, with the ex- 
ception of those essential to other resource pro- 
grams (wildlife, watershed, soils, etc.) could be re- 
moved which would further enhance wilderness 
values. Because a wilderness study area must con- 
tain at least 5,000 acres of contiguous public land, 
no fencing would be required within the area to 
control livestock trespass. In the long term wilder- 
ness values would increase as the ES area would 
slowly revert to a more natural condition in the 
absence of grazing. 



Land Ownership and Use 



ALTERNATIVE C: REDUCED 
LEVELS OF LIVESTOCK USE 



Livestock Grazing 

This alternative would adversely impact about 
400 livestock operations directly and would indirect- 
ly adversely affect the entire livestock industry in 
the ES area. Livestock numbers would decrease by 
an estimated 14 percent. Although dependency 
varies among operators, it would create critical peri- 



Description 



This alternative postulates a level of livestock 
use approximately 40 percent (115,457 AUMs) less 
than the level included in the proposed action and 
also 40 percent (118,356 AUMs) less than existing 



8-16 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



licensed use. Lower stocking levels for 308 of the 
318 AMPs included in this alternative were based 
on four major factors: (a) elimination of grazing use 
between March 1 and May 31, (b) reduction of 
stocking levels for rest rotation grazing systems to 
the amount of forage in only the pastures used 
each year (i.e., the capacity of the rested pasture is 
not included when establishing allowable yearly 
grazing levels), (c) reduction of stocking levels 
based on the amount of acreage each allotment 
has in fair and poor range condition and/or severe 
and critical erosion condition, and (d) a reduction of 
stocking levels based on the amount and type of 
wildlife habitat in each allotment. Grazing manage- 
ment on non-AMP areas would remain unchanged. 
Range improvements would be the same as those 
included in the proposed action. Approximately 
30,612 acres of public land would continue in unal- 
lotted status. Table 8-2 shows reductions by land- 
form. Reductions for individual AMPs range from 
to 80 percent. The reductions by specific AMPs are 
available for review at the Montana State Office of 
the BLM. The following rationale was used in the 
development of the AUM reductions in this alterna- 
tive. 

Trampling damage by livestock during wet 
months from March through May is of primary con- 
cern in watershed management. Trampling causes 
soil compaction with resulting increased surface 
runoff and sedimentation hazard. These potential 
erosion losses would be avoided by changing the 
season of use by livestock to avoid the March 
through May period. In addition, because adequate 
grass is often not available in the ES area before 
May 15, grazing would be deferred until warm 
season plant species are making some new growth. 
Excessive grazing during the rapid growth stage, 
year after year, decreases plant vigor and stands of 
desirable plant species. For each allotment grazed 
in March, April, and May, AUMs per day were cal- 
culated and the March through May period was 
eliminated. A total of approximately 33,350 AUMs 
would be eliminated by removal of livestock be- 
tween March 1 and May 31. This is 29 percent of 
the total reduction included in this alternative. 

Eighty-three of the AMPs included in the pro- 
posed action stipulate a rest rotation grazing 
system. One criticism of rest rotation grazing is 
that, even though one pasture is rested each year, 
the level of livestock use is based on all pastures in 
the system. The pastures being used are therefore 
stocked at a maximum level. A more conservative 
approach would be to stock only at the level of the 
pastures being used. For purposes of this analysis, 
it was assumed that all pastures in an allotment 
had equal livestock carrying capacity and that the 
licensed livestock use would not exceed the capac- 
ity of the pastures being used. Therefore, in a four 



pasture rest rotation system, the number of AUMs 
was reduced by 25 percent, a three pasture rest 
rotation system by 33 percent, a six pasture rest 
rotation system by 16 percent, etc. In order to pre- 
clude double counting of AUM reductions where 
spring grazing had been eliminated, and pasture 
level stocking assumed, only the larger of the two 
reduction figures was used. A total reduction of 
approximately 26,300 AUMs resulted from this pro- 
cedure (23 percent of the total reduction for this 
alternative). 

The third factor used in the development of re- 
duced level of livestock use was the amount of 
acreage each allotment had in a fair or poor range 
condition class and/or a severe or critical erosion 
condition class. If 20 to 50 percent of the allotment 
acreage was in fair and/or poor range condition, a 
20 percent AUM reduction (based on the AUMs 
remaining after the spring use and pasture stocking 
reductions were made) was stipulated; if over 50 
percent of the allotment acreage was in fair and/or 
poor range condition, a 30 percent reduction was 
assumed. In allotments with 20 to 50 percent of the 
total acreage in a severe and/or critical erosion 
condition class, an additional AUM reduction of 20 
percent was postulated; if over 50 percent of the 
allotment was in such condition, an additional 30 
percent reduction in AUMs was assumed. A reduc- 
tion of approximately 24,250 AUMs resulted from 
the foregoing procedure (21 percent of the total 
reduction included in this alternative). 

The final reduction factor in this alternative was 
based on the amount and type of wildlife habitat 
within each allotment. If a significant portion of the 
allotment (25 percent or more of the total acres) 
contains specified wildlife habitat types, a reduction 
in livestock use levels was made. A 20 percent 
reduction in AUMs was postulated for each of the 
following habitat types: 

Antelope 

(a) Concentration areas during severe winters 

(b) High value habitat 
Mule Deer 

(a) Concentration areas during severe winters 

(b) High value habitat 
White-tailed Deer 

(a) Winter habitat 

(b) Summer habitat 

(c) Year-long habitat 
Elk 

(a) Concentration areas during severe winters 

(b) Year-long habitat 



8-17 



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8-18 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Bighorn Sheep 

(a) General habitat 

Sharp-tailed Grouse 

(a) High value habitat 

Sage Grouse 

(a) Crucial winter and high value habitat 

This alternative assumes that a total livestock 
reduction of 60 percent or more would result in the 
development of a wildlife habitat management plan 
in lieu of a livestock allotment management plan 
and/or a major revision of the allotment manage- 
ment plan to more fully meet wildlife objectives 
through, for example, protection of riparian areas. 
Based on the foregoing methodology, 35 AMPs 
would have 60 percent or larger reductions due 
only to wildlife considerations. To avoid double 
counting of AUM reductions on allotments where 
reductions have been made for elimination of 
spring grazing, pasture level stocking or poor and 
fair range condition and/or severe and critical ero- 
sion condition, an additional AUM reduction was 
assumed only if the wildlife percentage was larger 
than the total reduction for the other factors. Ap- 
proximately 31,500 AUMs or 27 percent of the total 
reduction for this alternative is based on the type 
and amount of wildlife habitat contained in each 
allotment. 



Soils 



As observed by Willard and Herman 1977, prog- 
ress in watershed improvements through implemen- 
tation of livestock grazing systems is slow. The 
combined long term (15 years) watershed benefits 
of reduced compaction, shifts in erosion condition 
class acreages, and drops in sedimentation rates 
would parallel those expected from elimination of 
livestock grazing. 

Short term disturbance of 1 7,244 acres involved 
in range improvements would result in a net loss of 
36,396 tons of soil. 

Long term improvements in compaction would 
be slight overall, and moderate in drainages and 
near present water developments. 

Incised trails in most areas where slopes do not 
exceed 20 percent would improve moderately. 

Long term improvement in erosion condition 
class acreages, and in sedimentation reductions, is 
estimated at an average of 10 percent, with the 
most significant gains occurring in major drainages. 
Lands in critical to severe erosion condition should 
decrease 27,849 acres, from the present 278,487 



acres. Sedimentation should be reduced 256,326 
tons, from the present 2,653,259 tons (see Table 8- 
1). The most significant sedimentation improve- 
ments would be observed on the Arrow Creek 
drainage. 



Water Resources 



To reduce the stocking rate of the various exist- 
ing and proposed AMP areas would reduce total 
water consumption by livestock. The amount of re- 
duction, however, would be insignificant overall. In- 
filtration rates would experience slight to moderate 
increases comparable to those projected for elimi- 
nation of grazing. Slight additional aquifer recharge 
also would occur. 

Average annual runoff would be slightly reduced 
overall. Peak discharge also would be slightly re- 
duced. No significant changes in chemical quality of 
surface water would be expected. Biological quality 
would be slightly improved overall. 



Vegetation 

By reducing livestock stocking levels by an aver- 
age of 40 percent from existing licensed use, graz- 
ing pressure would be significantly reduced, which 
would allow plant vigor and reproduction to in- 
crease. Establishing proper stocking rates which 
will maximize meat, wool, and wildlife yields and yet 
not endanger soil, water, and vegetation stability, 
nor unduly interfere with other land uses is a diffi- 
cult task. Range production varies each year in 
response to precipitation and temperature. 

Vegetation recovery and stability would be en- 
hanced by reducing the stocking rates as outlined. 
This would occur primarily because less area would 
be needed to sustain fewer livestock. The result 
would be less total area grazed; however, this alter- 
native would provide little if any relief to the heavy 
use areas which have historically been selectively 
grazed. The safest policy and one of the most 
expeditious means of enhancing the rangeland re- 
source would be to stock the range initially with the 
number of animals that can safely graze under sub- 
normal conditions. The proposed livestock reduc- 
tions would be expected to provide a very conser- 
vative initial stocking rate from which adjustments 
could be made upward as range conditions im- 
prove. 

The findings of Smith (1940) in Oklahoma indi- 
cated that when spring grazing is eliminated, later 
grazing has little more effect upon the composition 



8-19 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



of the vegetation than does mowing for hay in the 
summer. Conversely, early and continuous spring 
grazing depletes the reserves of perennial plants 
and eventually kills them. 

Mackie (1970) reported on the precipitation pat- 
tern within the ES area from 1943 through 1973. 
During 10 of the 31 years, spring (April-June) pre- 
cipitation was less than 5 inches. This is the critical 
period for plants and would indicate drought with 
respect to forage plant growth and production. In 
other words, according to Mackie, drought condi- 
tions can be expected in the ES area once every 
three to four years. 

With reduced grazing, opportunity for range con- 
dition improvement during average or above aver- 
age rainfall years would be enhanced. Projected 
shifts (acres) in range condition class resulting from 
this alternative are shown in Table 8-1. See Appen- 
dix 10 for methodology used to predict shifts. 
Those allotments showing the greatest need for 
improvement would have the largest reductions. 
This lower level of stocking would have a lesser 
impact upon the rangeland resource during dry 
years and provide the means to make the greatest 
improvement during above average years. 



Wildlife 



A 40 percent reduction in grazing from existing 
licensed use would benefit virtually all wildlife sig- 
nificantly because of increased amounts of forage 
available for wildlife and increased residual cover 
for nesting and protection during winter. The extent 
to which wildlife would benefit due to the reductions 
proposed under this alternative would depend on 
local conditions. An average increase of 10 to 20 
percent is probably reasonable, but is unsubstanti- 
ated by data. 

The elimination of spring grazing would be par- 
ticularly beneficial. This would allow forage plants 
to maintain carbohydrate reserves and thus their 
vigor (Smith 1940), but it would also provide valua- 
ble protection for riparian habitats during a major 
part of the wet season when trampling by livestock 
can cause considerable physical damage to soil 
and vegetation. Although livestock may concentrate 
in riparian areas more in the warm summer months 
than they do in the spring, protection of these habi- 
tats in the spring and no compensatory increases in 
summer stocking rates would greatly increase the 
abilities of riparian habitats to withstand summer 
livestock use. 

In the Ervin Ridge area where the wild or semi- 
wild horses are, there would be a 60 percent reduc- 
tion in stocking under this alternative. As explained 



earlier, a habitat management plan would be devel- 
oped on this area. If the horses were determined to 
be truly wild, management would probably be 
aimed at fulfilling their needs and result in a several 
fold increase. If they were determined not to be 
wild, they would be removed from the federal 
range. 

Benefits to wildlife on the 35 AMPs where habi- 
tat management plans (HMPs) would be developed 
or where the AMP would be revised to more fully 
meet wildlife objectives would be substantial. There 
is no evidence that many existing wildlife popula- 
tions could be at least doubled if management 
were directed toward their benefit. This would not 
mean the elimination of livestock grazing, but rather 
a substantial reduction in livestock use with inten- 
sive grazing permitted for short periods to prevent 
the vegetation from becoming too rank and to 
create successional diversity. Examples from litera- 
ture illustrating the potential of this concept are 
discussed below. 

Anderson and Scherzinger (1975) were able to 
increase elk populations on a state game manage- 
ment area in northeastern Oregon almost ten-fold 
by first removing cattle and then allowing sufficient 
grazing to prevent the formation of wolf plants. 
Gjersing (1975) and Mundinger (1975) demonstrat- 
ed that waterfowl nesting near stockwater reser- 
voirs is benefitted by the residual vegetation pro- 
duced in the rest pasture of rest rotation grazing 
systems, but a number of other studies notably 
Sayler (1 962 - cited by Gjersing (1 975)) and Kirsch 
(1969) have found that waterfowl production on un- 
grazed lands is often more than 100 percent higher 
than on grazed lands. Under an HMP, carefully 
controlled grazing at reduced stocking levels would 
achieve probably double the waterfowl production 
possible under normal rest rotation grazing condi- 
tions. 

Numerous studies indicate that the number and 
variety of non-game birds using a given habitat de- 
pends on the structural variety and species diversity 
of the vegetation (Balda 1975). Since the vegeta- 
tion of areas intensively grazed has less variety 
than nongrazed or occasionally grazed areas, bird 
populations on grazed areas can be expected to be 
less diverse and generally lower than on ungrazed 
areas. Walcheck (1970) made similar observations 
within the ES area. HMPs with reduced stocking 
levels would provide much more diverse habitat 
and, therefore, more diverse non-game bird popula- 
tions than would be possible under conventional 
management conditions. 

Considerable concern has developed over the 
impact of grazing on riparian habitat (Johnson and 
Jones 1977). Riparian habitat includes habitats im- 
mediately adjacent to lakes, ponds, reservoirs, 



8-20 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



rivers, and streams (including intermittent streams 
and coulees with deciduous shrub vegetation). (Ri- 
parian habitats have yet to be defined or inventor- 
ied within the ES area.) 

Studies in the southwest (Carothers 1977) indi- 
cate that riparian habitats often support wildlife 
population densities many times that of adjacent 
habitats. In the Willow Creek Planning Unit, decidu- 
ous shrub coulees have been found to be important 
mule deer and elk habitat and often support con- 
centrations of shart-tailed grouse. Creek bottoms/ 
sagebrush riparian habitats provide year-long sage 
grouse and mule deer habitat, and creek bottoms/ 
agricultural/sagebrush mixtures are important for 
many species, particularly white-tailed deer and 
pheasants. The variety of micro-climates, thermal 
cover, escape cover, forage, and water make ripar- 
ian areas valuable to many animals. The values of 
these areas are related to the relatively greater 
horizontal and vertical stratification of the vegeta- 
tion (Thomas, Maser, and Rodek 1976 as cited in 
the Willow Creek URA). 

Livestock damage to riparian habitats is severe 
because livestock are attracted to the water, succu- 
lent vegetation, and relatively level terrain in these 
areas. Although there is some indication that rest 
rotation and other intensive grazing management 
systems can benefit riparian habitats, the precent 
of potential wildlife productivity that can be 
achieved through normal livestock management of 
riparian areas is small (Hormay 1976). Significant 
local increases in white-tailed deer, pheasant, and 
other game and non-game populations could be 
realized through HMPs with riparian habitat en- 
hancement objectives. 



Prehistoric and Historic Features 



water developments. Because most intensive use 
of an allotment would still center around access to 
water, only marginal reduction of this type of impact 
is anticipated from lowered levels of livestock use. 



Visual Resources 



Because the same range improvement projects 
recommended in the proposed action would be im- 
plemented in this alternative, changes in visual 
quality created by these intrusions would be the 
same as for the proposed action. Some improve- 
ments in visual quality could result in localized 
areas where substantial reductions in livestock use 
were recommended. A gradual improvement in 
vegetation ground cover, which could improve 
scenic quality, should occur in the long term. 



Recreation 



Any reductions in livestock use would benefit 
most recreation activities by reducing adverse im- 
pacts associated with livestock grazing. Significant 
increases in wildlife numbers would lead to a corre- 
sponding increase in hunting opportunities. Fishing 
opportunities would increase slightly due to an im- 
provement in riparian vegetation and a reduction in 
sediment in streams and reservoirs. Additional haz- 
ards or restrictions to movement of off-road vehi- 
cles would result from implementation of this alter- 
native to the same degree as the proposed action. 
A reduction in livestock numbers or no grazing in 
the spring would reduce shooting hazards caused 
by the presence of livestock. This alternative would 
produce little change in ease of movement of sport 
shooting enthusiasts. 



Implementation of this alternative would have 
little different effect than the proposed action on 
the cultural resources. There would be no reduction 
in construction of range improvements. In Chapter 
3, it was predicted that as many as 54 prehistoric 
sites and additional historic sites could be impacted 
by construction. The same level of construction of 
range improvements would maintain that number of 
impacted prehistoric sites at 54. It was not possible 
to quantify historic site impacts in Chapter 3, but no 
reduction in impacts would occur on historic sites 
either. These impacts would apply to both the short 
and long term. 

In Chapter 3, it was suggested that most im- 
pacts related to cattle trampling and other direct 
effects of grazing would be concentrated in riparian 
habitat, and around reservoirs, springs, and other 



Economic and Social Conditions 



This alternative would not affect the ES area as 
severely as elimination of grazing. It would have 
positive effects on construction, government, and 
recreation sectors, but would negatively impact the 
livestock industry. 

The overall reduction in grazing would be 40 
percent for an annual loss of 115,450 AUMs from 
proposed action levels. This reduction would not, 
however, be applied equally across all allotments. 
Reductions on single allotments would range from 
to 80 percent. These reductions would cause a 
loss in annual income of $1,435,000 in 1980 dol- 
lars. The annual loss in livestock income over the 



8-21 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



nine county region would be 0.3 percent. That loss 
of income would not be spread evenly over the 
entire ES area. Those allotments facing over a 40 
percent reduction (176 of 318 allotments) would 
probably be reduced enough so that they no longer 
would be viable operations. In that case, over half 
of the operators could be forced out of business, 
which would contribute to the long term trend of 
fewer family-owned ranches. Other operators who 
are highly dependent upon BLM land for grazing 
(no statistics are available concering operator de- 
pendency) could be forced out of business with a 
less than 40 percent reduction. 

Livestock employment would drop by 155. This 
would be a decrease of 2.0 percent of 1 975 agricul- 
tural (livestock and farming) employment levels in 
the nine county area. 

Construction income and employment would in- 
crease at the same level and over the same imple- 
mentation period as under the proposed action. 
Consequently, these related impacts would be iden- 
tical. Government-related income and employment 
would decrease slightly from the proposed action, 
but would be higher than at present. Government 
generated income would be down $12,000, and 
one job would be lost. Construction would have a 
short term beneficial effect, while government 
income and employment increases would continue 
for the foreseeable future. 

Hunter days might increase by an additional 5 
percent over those figures predicted under the pro- 
posed action. In 1976 dollars, the reduction alterna- 
tive potentially would increase hunting expenditures 
by $46,000. 

The 0.3 percent reduction of income from live- 
stock predicted by this alternative would be more 
than cancelled by increases in the construction, 
government, and recreation sectors. Therefore, re- 
duction of grazing should have no measurable 
effect on overall economic and social well-being. 

The principal impact to social conditions would 
be on socio-cultural attitudes. The reductions in 
livestock grazing require specific monitoring and de- 
tailed management. The level of government in- 
volvement required for this is counter to the individ- 
ualistic attitudes expressed in the area. The entire 
reduction alternative would be resisted by local 
ranchers. 



Land Ownership and Use 



Livestock Grazing 

This alternative would create significant detri- 
mental impacts on about 296 of the 318 AMPs 
included in the proposed action. The degree of 
these impacts would be in direct proportion to the 
percentage of reduction and dependency of the 
individual operators on public lands (see Table 8-3). 
In many cases, operators could be forced out of 
the livestock business. Specific figures on individual 
operations and their dependency are not available. 
Some operators could be forced to buy out smaller 
operations or utilize available croplands or im- 
proved pastures more heavily. This alternative 
would likely divert environmental impacts from 
public lands to private and state lands. These ad- 
verse impacts would be most severe in the short 
term and would probably become non-existent in 
the long term. 



Wilderness 

Adverse impacts caused by livestock use 
(trampling, riparian damage, trailing, etc.) would be 
reduced. Eliminating spring grazing, reducing AUMs 
in areas of fair or poor range condition, and reduc- 
ing stocking rates in rest rotation grazing systems 
and areas with high value wildlife habitats should 
help improve visual quality and enhance the wilder- 
ness integrity in a potential wilderness study area. 
Because this alternative would require the same 
number of range improvement projects as the pro- 
posed action, adverse impacts to wilderness values 
resulting from these actions would occur at approxi- 
mately the same level as in the proposed action 
(Chapter 3, Wilderness). Short-term and long-term 
adverse impacts would be essentially the same. 



ALTERNATIVE D: LIVESTOCK 
FORAGE MAXIMIZATION 



This alternative would provide for the develop- 
ment of livestock forage to its maximum potential 
by using vegetation manipulation practices (sage- 
brush spraying, mechanical treatment, and pre- 
scribed burning). The primary objectives of sage- 
brush spraying, mechanical treatment (contour fur- 
rowing, ripping, chiseling, plowing and seeding) and 
prescribed burning would be to remove or suppress 
undesirable plant species and increase forage pro- 
duction and thus grazing capacity. All of the above 
actions would be in addition to those specified in 



8-22 



TABLE 8-3 
Livestock Reduction (%) by No. of Allotments 

Percent Reduction No. of Allotments 

10 

1-19 12 

20-39 120 

40-59 129 

60-Over 47 

318 



8-23 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



the proposed action. Note that 15,339 acres of 
vegetation manipulation are included in the pro- 
posed action. Approximately 367,774 additional 
acres would be involved in vegetation manipulation 
with a potential increase of 55,252 additional AUMs 
(19 percent higher than the proposed action). The 
vegetation manipulation stipulated in this alternative 
would cost an additional $3,258,751. Table 8-4 pre- 
sents alternative data assumptions for vegetation 
manipulation practices by landform. 



Soils 



Forage maximization activities would lead to a 
short-term degradation of watershed values within 
the 175 AMPs involved. Sedimentation from range 
disturbances, involving about 160,000 acres, would 
approach 120,000 tons annually, until vegetation 
establishment is completed in two to five years. 
Prescribed burning of about 93,000 additional 
acres, and sagebrush spraying of about 116,000 
acres, would have no measurable watershed im- 
pacts. 

Once a diverse plant community with perennial 
grass species was established, this area (367,774 
acres) would approach a stabilized water erosion 
condition. Over the 15 year long-term projection, a 
shift from an average moderate to slight erosion 
condition has been estimated (see Table 8-1). The 
remaining ES area and AMP acreage values would 
remain as estimated for the proposed action projec- 
tions (also given in Table 8-1). 

Incised trails in most areas where slopes do not 
exceed 20 percent would improve moderately. 



Water Resources 



Mechanical treatment of 159,130 acres would 
increase potential infiltration rates both in the short 
and long terms. Associated changes would include 
slight aquifer recharge and reduced surface runoff 
over the affected acreage. Peak discharges in 
these areas also would be reduced. 

Overall water resource impacts would not differ 
significantly from those projected for the proposed 
action. 



Vegetation 



The rangeland improvements proposd in this al- 
ternative would, in the short term, reduce vegeta- 



tion productivity for two to five years until desirable 
forage species had become established. 

In the long term, this alternative would increase 
forage productivity within 175 allotments by from 3 
percent to 1 75 percent more than that projected by 
implementation of the proposed action. When 
added to the proposed action, forage maximization 
would increase livestock carrying capacity more 
rapidly than any other alternative. Adverse impacts 
would initially be greater than the other alternatives, 
but in two to five years treated range sites would 
support firmly established vegetation and be pro- 
ducing more pounds of forage per acre than under 
the proposed action. 

During the vegetation manipulation and recovery 
period, the treated area would be rested from live- 
stock grazing. This would require ranchers finding 
another place for their cattle during the recovery 
period if the treated area could not be scheduled to 
coincide with normal rest or if the rest period is not 
long enough to cover the entire recovery period. 
After several years of management under this 
system, grazing capacity could be increased on an 
allotment by allotment basis commensurate with im- 
proved range conditions. 

Undesirable and poisonous plants tend to 
become established on poor and fair range sites; 
therefore, the reduction of these plants would be 
high under this alternative because of the revegeta- 
tion projects, lower stocking level during the recov- 
ery period, and intensively managed grazing sys- 
tems. Considering that this alternative presents the 
most rapid means of improving range condition, the 
incidence of livestock poisoning should decrease 
accordingly. 

This alternative would rehabilitate rangeland 
presently in unsatisfactory condition more rapidly 
than any other alternative analyzed. Table 8-1 pro- 
vides projected shifts (acres) in range condition 
classes resulting from this alternative. Ecologically, 
this alternative would achieve more in the shortest 
period of time, and in the long term provide for 
better range condition than any other alternative, 
and for productivity as good as the reduced live- 
stock use alternative. 

Spraying about 116,000 acres having a big sa- 
gebrush aspect would convert these acres to a 
grassland dominated aspect interspersed with rem- 
nant stands of big sagebrush. Mechanical treat- 
ment would be conducted primarily on about 
159,000 acres of panspot range sites dominated by 
sod bound species such as blue grama and club- 
moss. Midgrasses such as western wheatgrass and 
needlegrass would prevail after treatment. Alfalfa 
would also be seeded on those sites requiring im- 
mediate protection from possible erosion. Pre- 



8-24 



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8-25 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



scribed burning would be conducted within conifer 
types with some sagebrush burning when it would 
not conflict with identified wildlife needs. All three 
vegetation manipulations are proposed in areas 
where the greatest amount of livestock forage 
would be realized through the removal or thinning 
of less palatable species. 

The soil types for those sites where treatments 
are prescribed are capable of supporting greater 
amounts of livestock forage than is presently being 
produced. Rainfall within the ES area averages be- 
tween 10-14 inches per year, which is adequate for 
the establishment and maintenance of higher pro- 
ducing forage species. 

Based on previous range rehabilitation work 
conducted by the BLM and others within or near 
the ES area, there is a high probability of success 
for the proposed treatments. For example, recent 
studies conducted by the Agricultural Research 
Service (now Science and Education Administra- 
tion) in southeast Montana (Wight et al. 1978) 
found that over an eight year period, contour fur- 
rowing on a panspot range site increased average 
annual herbage production 165 percent, while in- 
creasing plant available soil water 107 percent. 
Thickspike and western wheatgrass accounted for 
most of the increased yields. The average annual 
rainfall is about 12 inches where the study was 
conducted. 



Wildlife 



Of all the alternatives, this one would be the 
least favorable for wildlife. Although the data are 
not entirely conclusive, studies on and near the ES 
area indicate that mechanical and chemical manip- 
ulations of vegetation are detrimental to game pop- 
ulations, although certain small mammals and other 
species might benefit (Wallestad 1975, Martinka 
1967, and Bayless 1969). While number estimates 
are not possible, losses of antelope, mule deer, 
and sage grouse, in particular, would be significant 
at least locally because the loss of essential shrub 
species on winter habitat would outweigh benefits 
to wildlife from grass and forb production increases 
under this alternative. 

Elk habitat conditions would improve slightly be- 
cause of the importance to them of the increased 
forage that would be produced. Whether elk popu- 
lations would respond would depend on hunting 
pressure as influenced by landowner attitudes 
toward increased elk populations. 

The wild or semi-wild horses in southern Blaine 
County would show a moderate population increase 
under this alternative due to increased available 



forage, assuming no change in the management of 
these horses. 

Sedimentation from the 160,000 acres of me- 
chanical treatment of vegetation would have a 
slight adverse impact on fish populations in new 
and existing reservoirs for 2 to 5 years. No signifi- 
cant impact on Fort Peck Reservoir would be antici- 
pated from sedimentation since the increase would 
be very small compared to the total sediment load 
received by the reservoir. 

Although the herbicide 2,4-D is relatively short- 
lived, the potential for impacts on fish in stockwater 
ponds exists when it is sprayed on 116,000 acres 
of sagebrush. However, standard precautions would 
prevent significant impacts. 

No impact on any endangered species is antici- 
pated under this alternative. If future studies identi- 
fied an endangered species within areas scheduled 
for vegetation treatment, no treatment would be 
undertaken until consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service confirmed that such treatment 
could be implemented without negatively affecting 
the species concerned. 



Prehistoric and Historic Features 



Forage maximization would have the greatest 
adverse effect on prehistoric and historic features. 
More ground disturbance than in any other form of 
proposed management, and greater numbers of 
livestock are called for in this alternative. Both 
short-term and long-term impacts would be expect- 
ed. Mechanical treatment would cause short-term 
impact through ground disturbance, while livestock 
increase would have a long-term effect. 

Under the proposed action or grazing reduction 
alternative, about 17,000 acres of ground would be 
disturbed by vegetation manipulation or construc- 
tion of range improvements. This would increase by 
367,774 acres under this alternative. As shown in 
Chapter 3, ground disturbance is potentially the 
most destructive impact to cultural resources. While 
approximately 54 sites were predicted to suffer im- 
pacts under the proposed action or grazing reduc- 
tion alternative, it is possible that over 1,100 prehis- 
toric sites could be impacted by the vegetation ma- 
nipulation in this alternative. However, sagebrush 
spraying would not be a major impact and 360 of 
the affected sites could be in lands which would be 
sprayed. In addition, an increased number of histor- 
ic sites would be impacted, but the number is not 
known. It is probable that most impacts to historic 
sites from vegetation manipulation would be to 
ranching or homestead features. 



8-26 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



The above impacts are only those to be expect- 
ed from vegetation manipulation. The increased 
AUMs resulting from this alternative could increase 
the grazing use by approximately 19 percent. This 
would probably put more grazing pressure on ripar- 
ian and water development areas, and cause a 
corresponding increase in impacts from livestock 
trampling, mitigated by increased livestock use of 
mechanically treated areas. This impact would be 
variable because vegetation manipulation would not 
occur on all AMPs. 



Visual Resources 



Implementation of numerous additional vegeta- 
tion manipulations would (1) change the natural 
conditions of the landscape, and (2) create addi- 
tional form, line, color, and texture contrasts. Short- 
term adverse impacts to visual resources would be 
more severe than long-term impacts due to immedi- 
ate losses in ground cover, and changes in form, 
line, color, and texture of the landscape. Long-term 
adverse impacts would gradually be reduced as 
existing vegetation recovered or new seedings 
were established. 



Recreation 



Hunting opportunities would decrease slightly 
due to changes in wildlife habitat caused by the 
individual vegetation manipulations. Individual game 
species would react in different ways to these prac- 
tices (refer to wildlife discussion for this alternative). 
Increased livestock numbers or lengthened of sea- 
sons of use resulting in increased AUMs could pro- 
duce increased wildlife/livestock competition for 
food, especially on grass dependent species such 
as elk. Because livestock numbers could increase 
as a result of implementation of this alternative, 
more adverse impacts associated with livestock 
concentrations near water sources and fisheries 
could result. Some improvements in nearby water- 
sheds would occur as a result of these practices, 
but would not likely offset the increased adverse 
impacts to fisheries caused by additional livestock 
numbers. 

Because some vegetation manipulations such 
as contour furrowing create rough ground surfaces, 
cross-country off-road vehicle travel would be ad- 
versely impacted in the treated areas. No additional 
fences would be required so no additional adverse 
impacts to ease of movement would be expected. 
Additional AUMs produced through implementation 
of this alternative could result in increased livestock 



numbers or longer seasons of use. Either result 
would produce additional shooting hazards to live- 
stock, adversely impacting sport shooting opportu- 
nities. 



Economic and Social Conditions 



Livestock forage maximization is based on addi- 
tions to the proposed action. All changes to live- 
stock, construction, and government income and 
employment as shown in Chapter 3, Social and 
Economic Conditions, are included in this alterna- 
tive. 

The increased level of vegetation manipulation 
would add income and employment to the contract 
construction sector. Additional personal income 
would be generated during the 1980-83 implemen- 
tation phase amounting to a total of $3,596,000 
during this four-year period. Secondary effects 
would generate another $25,000 in personal 
income. The total change in income in the con- 
struction sector from the combination of both the 
proposed action and the alternative amounts to a 
33.6 percent increase. However, this is a one-time 
expenditure (spread over four years), and would not 
be continually added to the economy beyond 1984. 

Vegetation manipulation for 175 allotments (55 
percent of the total 318 allotments) would mean 
that AUMs would be added and additional income 
would be earned for the foreseeable future. In 1980 
dollars, annual personal income would rise by 
$1,186,000. The 175 allotments would generate ad- 
ditional annual income of approximately $5,685 
each. 

Vegetation manipulation and increased numbers 
of cattle would be harmful to some wildlife habitat. 
It is possible that hunter days would drop as much 
as 5 percent from levels expected with the pro- 
posed action. In 1976 dollars, hunter day expendi- 
tures might decrease about $46,000. 

The forage maximization alternative would not 
have a long-term effect on social well-being, public 
finance, or infrastructure, because it would not 
measurably change these areas. The one-time in- 
jection of construction income would temporarily 
increase such social well-being factors as family 
income and decrease unemployment (this alterna- 
tive would add 112 jobs. The influence would last 
only during the AMP implementation period, 1980- 
84. However, 124 jobs would be added in the agri- 
cultural sector, and 30 in government, so some 
slight effect may be felt in population and ability to 
provide services. 



8-27 



ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED ACTION 



Although no adverse public opinion would prob- 
ably meet this alternative from most of the area 
population (with exceptions noted in Chapter 3 for 
the proposed action), resistance from wildlife inter- 
est groups who have expressed strong opposition 
to range improvements that would have an adverse 
effect on wildlife habitat would be expected. 



Land Ownership and Use 



Livestock Grazing 

Forage maximization would result in an initial 
increase of 55,262 AUMs (19 percent) or an equiv- 
alent of 4,605 animal units. This increase would 
begin to occur during the short term. In the long 
term, if properly managed under the AMP systems, 
this increase could possibly exceed the initial in- 
crease of 55,262 AUMs plus the proposed 21,904 
AUM increase from the proposed action. The po- 
tential would then be more than 77,166 AUMs over 
the present licensed use, or a total licensed use 
exceeding 371,667 AUMs in the long term. This 
estimate represents about 40 percent of vegetative 
climax potential for livetock in favorable years and 
78 percent of climax potential for livestock in unfa- 
vorable years. 



Wilderness 

The term "wilderness," as defined in the Wilder- 
ness Act of 1964, requires that an area appear to 
have been affected primarily by the forces of 
nature, with man's work substantially unnoticeable. 
An area of wilderness is further defined to mean, 
"an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its 
primeval character and influence, without perma- 
nent improvements, which is protected and man- 
aged so as to preserve its natural conditions." 
Vegetation manipulations do not preserve natural 
conditions. The vegetation manipulation postulated 
would be a major adverse impact in any wilderness 
study area and could preclude wilderness consider- 
ation of any area so impacted. 



8-28 



CHAPTER 9 



CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



CHAPTER 9 
CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



The Missouri Breaks Draft Environmental State- 
ment was prepared by BLM District and State 
Office specialists with expertise in range manage- 
ment, wildlife, recreation, landscape architecture, 
archaeology and history, soils, watershed manage- 
ment, hydrology, geology, and economics. Writing 
of the ES began in January 1978; however, a com- 
plex process over a two and one-half year period 
preceded the writing phase. This process included 
resource inventory, land use planning, public and 
other agency coordination, and preparation of allot- 
ment management plans. Consultation and coordi- 
nation with agencies, organizations, and individuals 
occurred in a variety of ways throughout this prepa- 
ration process. 



PRELIMINARY CONSULTATION 



Update and revision of the existing land use 
plans for the ES area (ten Management Framework 
Plans, or MFPs) began in 1975. Resource data 
gathered in the concurrent development of allot- 
ment management plans was recycled into the re- 
source data base used in the land use planning 
process. During this update process, federal, state, 
and local organizations were contacted for assist- 
ance. All public land users and other interested 
groups and individuals were notified through letters 
and news releases of the initiation of the planning 
system updates. In late 1977 and early 1978, public 
information meetings or open houses were held to 
present the multiple-use recommendations from the 
MFPs. Open houses were held in Havre, Malta, 
Glasgow, Lewistown, and Jordan. Discussions of 
the Missouri Breaks ES with interested parties oc- 
curred throughout the update process. 

Preparation of allotment management plans for 
the ES area began in 1975. Nearly all livestock 
operators were contacted during preparation of 
draft allotment management plans and most were 
contacted after the drafts were complete. All AMPs 
were available for review by livestock operators and 
public interest groups. All livestock operators in the 
Lewistown District were advised by letter of the 
effect, if any, of the proposed AMP on their oper- 
ation. The AMPs will remain in draft form until a 
decision is made on the content and adequacy of 
the Missouri Breaks ES. Prior to implementation of 
the AMPs, close coordination and cooperation with 
the affected livestock operators will be necessary. 



PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT AND 
CONSULTATION DURING 
DEVELOPMENT OF THE 
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL 
STATEMENT 



A news release was distributed in October 1975 
discussing initiation of the planning process which 
would lead to preparation of grazing ESs on all 
public lands in Montana. This news release indicat- 
ed that the Missouri Breaks ES would be the first of 
eight such studies to be completed in Montana by 
1988. 

Public involvement throughout the integrated 
process of planning system updates and allotment 
management plan development stressed the close 
ties with the upcoming ES. Numerous meetings 
were held over the two and one-half year period 
with public agencies, service organizations, special 
interest groups, and private individuals to explain 
and solicit comments on the entire process. These 
meetings included entities such as the various co- 
operative state grazing districts, Montana Public 
Lands Council, Montana Stockgrowers Association, 
several chambers of commerce, and local rod and 
gun clubs. 

The State Historic Preservation Officer reviewed 
draft material regarding prehistoric and historic 
sites. His comments noted that any affected site on 
or eligible for the National Register of Historic 
Places must be reviewed by the Advisory Council 
on Historic Preservation. Because no such sites 
were within proposed project areas, the Advisory 
Council has not been contacted but will be pro- 
vided an opportunity to review the draft environ- 
mental statement. 

Informal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife 
Service regarding threatened and endangered spe- 
cies took place throughout the ES preparation proc- 
ess. The Billings Area Office informally reviewed all 
draft sections pertaining to threatened and endan- 
gered species and indicated that consideration of 
such species was adequate. 

In addition, the ES team consulted with and/or 
received input from the following organizations 
during the writing phase of the draft ES: 

Federal Agencies 

Farmers Home Administration 

Fish and Wildlife Service 



9-1 



CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



Forest Service 

Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service 

Soil Conservation Service 

State Apencies and Organizations 

Montana Agricultural Experiment Station 

Montana Department of Community Affairs 

Montana Department of Fish and Game 

Montana Department of Natural Resources and 
Conservation 

Montana Highway Department 

Montana Historical Society 

Montana State University 

University of Montana 

S pecial Interest Grou ps 

Montana Council of the Boy Scouts of America 

Montana Public Lands Council 

Montana Stockgrowers Association 

Further comments are expected from public 
meetings scheduled for late January and early Feb- 
ruary, 1979. 

Copies of the draft environmental statement are 
available for public review at BLM offices in Miles 
City, Glasgow, Malta, Havre, Lewistown, and Bill- 
ings. In addition, copies of the draft are available at 
public libraries in all communities in the ES area. 

Comments on the draft environmental statement 
have been requested from the following agencies 
and interest groups: 

Federal Apencies 

Army Corps of Engineers 

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 

Department of Agriculture 

Forest Service 

Soil Conservation Service 
Department of Commerce 
Department of the Interior 

Bureau of Indian Affairs 

Bureau of Mines 

Bureau of Reclamation 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

Geological Survey 

Heritage Conservation and Recreation Serv- 
ice 



National Park Service 

Environmental Protection Agency 

Congressional 

Office of Congressman Marlenee 

Office of Congressman Williams 

Office of Senator Baucus 

Office of Senator Melcher 

Montana - State A g encies 

Association of State Grazing Districts 

Department of Community Affairs 

Department of Fish and Game 

Department of Natural Resources and Conser- 
vation 

Department of State Lands 

Governor's Office 

Historical Society 

Old West Regional Commission 

Coun t y Commissioners 

Blaine County 

Chouteau County 

Fergus County 

Garfield County 

Judith Basin County 

McCone County 

Musselshell County 

Petroleum County 

Phillips County 

Valley County 

Local Government 

Fort Benton Mayor 

Glasgow Mayor 

Jordan Mayor 

Lewistown Mayor 

Malta Mayor 

Miles City Mayor 

Roundup Mayor 

Stanford Mayor 

Winnett Mayor 

Wolf Point Mayor 

Other Or g anizations 

Ada County Fish and Game League (Idaho) 



9-2 



CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



American Fisheries Society Wildlife Society 

American Horse Protective Association Williams Coulee CSGD 

Audubon Society Winnett CSGD 

Badlands County Cooperative State Grazing Individuals 

District (CSGD) James Morgan (plaintiff in Natural Resources 

Chain Buttes CSGD Defense Council, Inc. et al., vs. Rogers C.B. 

~ , ~ ~«~r^ Morton et al.) 

Crooked Creek CSGD 

Defenders of Wildlife 

Flatwillow CSGD 

Friends of the Earth 

Grassrange CSGD 

Indian Butte CSGD 

Izaak Walton League of America 

Montana Farm Bureau 

Montana Farmers Union 

Montana Historical Society 

Montana Public Lands Council 

Montana Stockgrowers Association 

Montana Wilderness Association 

Montana Wildlife Federation 

Montana Woolgrowers Association 

National Council of Public Land Users 

Natural Resources Defense Council 

Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association, Inc. 

Northern Plains Resource Council 

Oregon Environmental Council 

Pacific Legal Foundation 

Phillips County Cowbelles 

Phillips County Livestock Association 

Phillips County Soil and Water Conservation Dis- 
trict 

Public Lands Council 

Sierra Club 

Society for Range Management 

South Phillips County CSGD 

The Humane Society of the United States 

Valley County Soil and Water Conservation Dis- 
trict 

Weede CSGD 

Wild Horse Organized Assistance 

Wilderness Society 

9-3 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX 1 

METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING LIVESTOCK FORAGE 
ALLOCATION AND STOCKING RATES 



A-1 



APPENDIX 1 



METHODOLOGY FOR DETERMINING LIVESTOCK 
FORAGE ALLOCATION AND STOCKING RATES 



Introduction 



Field data from the MRB Rangeland Inventory 
have been utilized during the past 10-25 years, 
depending upon the specific area. Some of the 
range site names used 10-20 years ago have been 
changed. Also, potential plant communities have 
been better defined in more recent published soil 
surveys. The MRB data have been the basis for 
setting grazing capacity on most allotments, includ- 
ing the 52 operational AMPs which have been mon- 
itored for utilization, trend, actual use, and climate. 
Based on our past experience in using the MRB 
data, we find that it is generally good usable infor- 
mation. The primary steps involved in the MRB 
Rangeland Inventory included the following: 

1 . Range sites were first delineated as the mapping 

unit base. A range site is a distinctive kind of 
rangeland that differs from other kinds of ran- 
geland in its ability to produce a characteristic 
natural plant community (SCS, National Range 
Handbook, 302.1). 

2. Ecological condition class determinations were 

made on the basis of departures of present 
species composition (by weight) from climax or 
potential species composition. 

3. SCS Technicians' Guides were used to establish 

initial stocking rates. 

Gross allocation levels were estimated by com- 
paring recommended stocking rates for excellent 
condition range with potential mean annual produc- 
tion (per soil survey information) for the same range 
site. Where existing range condition is good to ex- 
cellent, this relationship appears to be realistic in 
determining present allocation levels for livestock 
and other uses. Where range condition is poor to 
fair, livestock allocation levels would generally drop 
because the more desirable livestock forage plant 
species would be replaced with less desirable and 
unpalatable plants. 



Determination of Present Ecological 
Condition 



cent. This was compared with the climax plant 
community of the same range site by using Techni- 
cians' Guides (see Example #1) developed by the 
Soil Conservation Service (SCS). The climax plant 
community for a range site is found by searching 
for protected or relatively undisturbed rangeland. 
The plant community of the least disturbed range 
sites is regarded as representing the vegetative po- 
tential. The degree to which the present plant com- 
munity varies from the climax plant community is 
described by four classes: "excellent, good, fair, 
and poor." Example #2 shows how the Techni- 
cians' Guides were used to develop range condition 
classes. 

An ecological site field inventory was conducted 
for the entire ES area in the 1950s and 1960s, 
except in the Fergus and Petroleum Planning Units. 
Realizing the desirability of showing ecological 
range condition for the entire ES area, ocular re- 
connaissance field data were converted to weight- 
based species composition, the range site estimat- 
ed, and condition class determined from departures 
from climax as shown in the SCS Technicians' 
Guides. 

An approach was suggested by Dr. John Taylor, 
Montana State University, where ocular reconnais- 
sance of ground cover could be correlated with 
annual production or yield, in a relative manner. 
Relative yield factors were obtained from research 
conducted at the Animal and Pasture Science Ex- 
perimental Farm, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. 

Ocular reconnaissance composition estimates 
were weighted by relative yield factors to develop 
estimates of present composition by weight. Those 
values were then considered equivalent to direct 
weight estimates and compared with Ecological 
Site allowances to calculate Range Condition. Ap- 
plication of this conversion methodology is shown 
in Example #3. 



Use of Both MRB and Soil Survey 
Stocking Guides to Establish 
Livestock Stocking Levels 



Range condition was determined by first map- 
ping the various range sites and then listing the 
relative quantities of plants within each range site. 
Annual production, the relative amount produced by 
each species, was estimated to the nearest 5 per- 



The following discussion is an attempt to recon- 
struct total annual vegetation production and major 
allocation levels. The basic concern is how much of 
the vegetation production is being allocated to live- 
stock grazing, wildlife, watershed, and other uses. 



A-2 



EXAMPLE #1 
Early Technicians' Guide 

TECHNICIANS' GUIDE TO RANGE SITES, CONDITION CUSSES, AND RECOMMENDED STOCKING RATES 

Utilized by the Missouri River Basin Investigation Field Group of the Bureau of Land Management for the inventory 

studies of the Milk River Area, 1952-54. Compiled from the Technicians' Guide for the Glaciated Plains 

of Montana, produced by the Soil Conservation Service, U. 3. D. A. 

Part Is Key species and their response to grazing as judged from climax: 



DECREASERS 



INCREASERS 
(By range sites*) 



Maximum % in climax - 10"-14" precipitation 



INVADERS 



WL Sb Ld SL 3v Sa Sy OU CI DC Sw Sc TB Gr VS SU Sh Bl 



Giant wildrye 
Cordgrasses 
Big bluestem 
Canada wildrye 
Rough fescue 
Prarie sandreed 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Slender wheatgrass 
Bearded wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Shortawn 

porcupine grass 
Tall reedgrasses 
Indian ricegrass 
Sand dropseed 
Little bluestem 
Sideoats grama 
Canby bluegrass 
Alkali sacaton 
Nuttall alkaligrass 
Forb decreasers 
Wetland sedges 
Foxtails 



Western wheatgrass 
Needleandthread 
Prarie Junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Squlrreltail 
Red Threeawn 
Stonyhills muhly 
Mat muhly 
Saltgrass 
Threadleaf sedge 
Dryland sedges 
Phlox 

Pricklypear 
Fringed sagewort 
Winterfat 
Gardners saltbush 
Big sagebrush 
Silver sagebrush 
Snowberry 
Greasewood 
Conifers 
Other woody plants 



25 



40 
5 
5 
5 



20 15 25 35 50 d 
10 JO 40 35 d d 



- 5 



to 

d 

5 10 15 10 

10 15 15 15 

10 10 15 15 

5 5 5 5 

- - 5 5 



d d d d 

d d d d 

15 15 15 d 

d 20 - d 



10 10 20 30 30 
5 5 10 10 15 10 10 
5 - 5 5 10 5 5 



- 5 



5 10 
- 15 



- 5 - 



5 - 

- 5 
5 - 

- 5 

- 5 

- 5 



5 5 10 
10 10 15 



5 - 



d 
5 - 
5 - 
5 - 
- 10 



5 



5 - 

- 5 

10 - 

5 5 



5 



5 - 

5 5 

5 5 

5 5 

5 - 



5 

10 



10 
5 
5 
5 
5 

d 
d 



20 



10 10 15 
5 5 5 



5 5 

10 10 

5 5 



All annuals 
All exotics 
Canada bluegrass 
Kentucky bluegrass 
Curlycup gumweed 
Broom snakeweed 
Tumblegrass 
Dandelion 
Foxtail barley 
Rabbi tbrush 
Western ragweed 
Bun thistle 



- 5 



d d 

40 40 

5 - 



10 - 
- 5 
5 10 



15 10 



- 5 
5 5 



5 



* The symbol "-" means the species ha3 less than 2\% coverage or is not present in the climax vegetation on this site. The symbol "d n 
means the species is a decreaser on this site. Range soil groups are described with determinant features (See Standard Symbols for Con- 
servation Surveys, SCS, 1951). WL - Wetland is W3 (Subirrigated land with water over the surface during part of the growing season); Sb 
Subirrigated is W1-W2 (Subirrigated land with water rarely over the surface during the grcwing season); Ld - Lowland is f2-f3 overflowed 
(Use the Overflow guide to determine condition and stocking of native pasture areas with waterspreading systems. Map separately and 
label separately as "Water Spreading System"); SL - Saline Lowland is S3-S4 with w; 3v - Savannah is land on which grass cover with iso- 
lated trees is climax. In this pcpt. belt usually 1-3 depth; r, v, c, or e; various textures; 4-7 surface permeability and 1-4 lowerj 
Sa - Sands is L to C texture, 1-3 depth; Sy - Sandy is 3 texture, 1-3 depth; OU - Ordinary Upland is M texture, 1-3 depth; CI - Clay is 
F to H textures, 1-3 depth, normal permeability; DC - Dense Clay is V texture and lighter textures with 1 subsoil permeability; SW - 
Shallow is 4 depth; Sc - Scabland is a complex of 20-50$ Solonetz soil (slick spots with very thin surface, F to H texture, 1 permeabil- 
ity) and 50-30$ other soils; TB - Thin Breaks is various depths and textures on slopes over 20$ with al surface; Gr - Gravel is less 
than 25$ fines, 6 to 7 permeability; VS - Very Shallow is 5 depth, except shale site; SU - Saline Upland is S3 to S4; Sh - Shale is 5 
depth, V or H Textures over K; Bl - Badlands is rough broken upland with intermingled small grazable areas; clay, shales and sandstones; 
undeveloped soils. 

Part II: Recommended stocking rates are based on precipitation belt, site and range condition in percent. For Savannah, Sands, 
Sandy, Ordinary Upland and Clay sites use the values in line with the precipitation belt of the site. For Wet Lands 
triple these values. For Subirrigated site double t^ese values. For Lowland and Saline Lowland use values one-half to 
one belt higher. For Dense Clay, Shallow and Scabland use values one-half to one belt down. For Thin Breaks and Gravel 
use values of the next lower belt. For Very Shallow, Saline Upland, Shale and Badlands U3e values one and one-half belts 
down. 



Precipitation 




Range condition 


percentages 


Belt 


100 


75 






50 25 


(Inches) 




(Animal 


unit 


months per acre) 


25 - 29 


1.0 


.7^ 






.5 .25 


20-24 


.8 


.6 






.4 .2 


15 - 19 


.6 


.45 






.3 .15 


10-14 


.4 


.3 






.2 „1 


5-9 


.2 


.15 






.1 .05 



A-3 



EXAMPLE #2 

Range Site and Condition Write-Up 
(Using 1952-54 Technicians Guide) 



Glaciated Plains of Montana 
10-14 inch Precipitation Zone 
Clay Range Site 



Plant Species 



Current 


Percent 


Composition 


Allowable 


(Dry Wt. ) 


In Climax 


30% 


30% 


15 


15 


20 


10 


10 


5 


25 


5 



Western wheatgrass 

( Agropyron smithii ) 
Green needlegrass 

( Stipa viridula ) 
Blue grama 

( Bouteloua gracilis ) 
Sandberg bluegrass 

( Poa sandbergii ) 
Big sagebrush 

(Artemisia tridentata) 



100% 




65% 



Range Condition Classes 



Score 


Rating 


76-100 


Excellent 


51-75J 


^Good 


26-50 


Fair 


0-25 


Poor 



A-4 



EXAMPLE #3 
Ocular Reconnaissance and Relative Yield 



Species 


% Compo- 
sition 
(cover) 


Relative 

Yield 
Factor- 


Weighted 
Factor 


% Compo- 
sition 
(weight) 


Range 
Condition— 




a x 


fa 


c -r 104 


d 


e 


Western wheatgrass 
(Agropyron 
smithii) 


30 


1.40 


42 


40 


40 


Green needlegrass 
(Stipa viridula) 


15 


1.60 


24 


23 


23 


Blue grama 
(Bouteloua 


20 


0.33 


7 


7 


5 


gracilis) 












Sandberg bluegrass 
(Poa sandbergii) 


10 


0.60 


6 


6 


5 


Big sagebrush 
(Artemisia 
tridentata) 


25 


1.00 


25 


24 


5 



100% 



104 



100% 



78% 



1/ Factors derived by using Stipa comata as a base (1.0) with the other 
plants shown as departures. ("The Point Method and Forage Yield 
Tables for Determining Carrying Capacity," lodge and Campbell 1965) 

2/ Ecological condition based on percent composition by weight allowable 
in climaxes according to April 1977 SCS Technicians' Guides 
. Eastern Glaciated Plains of Montana 
. 10-14 inch precipitation zone 
. Clayey Range Site 

(78% would indicate excellent ecological condition) 



A-5 



1 . Potential Mean Annual Production. This was esti- 
mated by using SCS soil survey information. When 
these production estimates are multiplied by the 
areas represented in each range site, an estimate 
of potential mean annual production is obtained. 

2. Livestock Forage Production Potential. This was 
estimated by using two different data sources: pub- 
lished soil survey information and the MRB Range- 
land Inventory. Both data sources were used for 
this analytical process since they were available 
and could be compared. 

A. Soil survey information for the ES area 
provides an estimation of the percent of 
usable livestock forage for each range site. 
Total annual production potential for each 
range site is multiplied by the percent of 
usable livestock forage and then multiplied 
by 50 percent (assuming this is an average 
livestock utilization level). 

B. MRB Stocking Guides provide the other 
data source for estimating livestock forage 
production potential. Recommended stocking 
rates for excellent condition range sites were 
obtained directly from the Stocking Guides 
and multiplied by the acres represented in 
each range site to get total AUMs per site. 

3. Present Livestock Forage Production. This was 
also determined from MRB Stocking Guides. Rec- 
ommended stocking rates for each range site by 
present condition class (ranging from excellent to 
poor) were obtained directly from the Stocking 
Guides, again multiplied by the acres represented 
in each range site. 

Stocking rate guides were developed on the 
basis of actual use, utilization, and trend data 
where available through rancher experience or re- 
search. In the absence of recorded stocking rate 
data, estimates were made for some range sites by 
interpolating data from similar sites. These stocking 
rate guides were developed by the Soil Conserva- 
tion Service and have been used for several dec- 
ades. 

4. Data Relationships. Table A1-1 summarizes the 
production data as described in 1 , 2, and 3 above. 
Representative data for two allotments in the river- 
breaks landform area and two allotments in the 
rolling plains landform area are shown. 

Vegetation allocation levels were determined on 
the basis of the proportion of estimated livestock 
forage production potential as compared to the es- 
timated potential mean annual production. The allo- 
cation percentages show this relationship for excel- 
lent condition ranges which is also assumed to be 
comparable for existing production levels. There 
are some problems associated with this assumption 



as species composition and livestock forage pro- 
duction would be different between present and 
potential vegetation. However, existing range condi- 
tions are generally good throughout the ES area, so 
these potential allocation percentages may be quite 
comparable for most allotments today. 

In summary, Table A1-1 shows an estimated 
average livestock forage allocation level of 30 per- 
cent and 70 percent for wildlife, watershed, and 
other uses within the riverbreaks landform area. A 
40 percent livestock forage allocation level and 60 
percent for wildlife, watershed, and other uses was 
estimated for the rolling plains landform area. The 
primary reason for the 10 percent difference is in 
the amount of unsuitable range. With little or no 
livestock capacity allowed on the steep slopes of 
Little Bullwhacker and Barnard Ridge Allotments 
(riverbreaks), overall livestock grazing allocation of 
total allotment production would be lower than an 
allotment characterized by more gently rolling to- 
pography, such as Upper Beauchamp and McQuin 
Allotments (rolling plains). 



Adjustments to Stocking Levels 



Subsequent to the MRB Rangeland Inventory, 
grazing adjustments were made and more adjust- 
ments are proposed as a result of (1) more refined 
delineation of allotment boundaries, (2) better char- 
acterization of wildlife requirements, (3) comparing 
actual grazing use with forage utilization, (4) suit- 
ability determination, and (5) recognition of errors in 
administrative records. 

Areas that have been classified as unsuitable 
for livestock grazing are generally the steep slopes 
which exceed 50 percent. 

The MRB Rangeland Inventory, which was con- 
ducted in the 1950s and 1960s, will be updated in 
the future by integrating the more recent soil survey 
information. Bureau Manuals now prescribe an inte- 
grated soil and vegetation inventory method which 
will be utilized in future rangeland inventories. As 
this information becomes available, it will more ac- 
curately define range sites and current ecological 
condition and will provide guidance for adjusting 
stocking rates. The primary monitoring techniques 
(for vegetation trend, utilization, actual use, and cli- 
mate) will complement the basic inventory and pro- 
vide a more sensitive indication of soil-vegetation 
changes and any necessary management adjust- 
ments. 



A-6 



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A-7 



Allotment Example (Data Collection) 



Little Bullwhacker Allotment (#6214) is located 
in the riverbreaks landform area which is character- 
ized by a significant amount of unsuitable range 
due to very steep slopes. Table A1-2 shows the 
data calculations which were applied in an attempt 
to rationalize vegetation allocation levels. 



A-8 





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A-9 



APPENDIX 2 
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A-24 



APPENDIX 3 

DESIGN FEATURES FOR GRAZING SYSTEMS AND RANGE 

IMPROVEMENTS 



A-25 



APPENDIX 3 



DESIGN FEATURES FOR GRAZING SYSTEMS AND 

RANGE IMPROVEMENTS 



GRAZING SYSTEMS 



Numerous measures, procedures, or design fea- 
tures are an integral part of grazing system imple- 
mentation and administration. Many of these items 
reduce the potential adverse environmental impacts 
which could result from the proposed action. Some 
of the more significant items of this kind are pre- 
sented in the following discussion. 

1. All AMPs would receive necessary supervision to 
insure that the grazing formula is followed and 
timely remedial action is taken to protect the re- 
source base if the grazing formula needs modifica- 
tion. 

2. Each AMP allotment would be evaluated at least 
once during each grazing cycle to determine any 
changes in plant and soil conditions. Grazing sys- 
tems would be adjusted when it has been deter- 
mined that objectives are not being met. 

3. Permittees would keep records of actual live- 
stock use on forms furnished by the BLM and 
would submit these forms to the Area Manager 15 
days after termination of the grazing season. Spot 
checks would periodically be made on the stocking 
rate by BLM employees to insure the range is not 
stocked beyond the carrying capacity. 

4. Permanent range trend plots would be estab- 
lished on all AMP allotments in each pasture prior 
to implementation of the grazing system. Photos 
would be used to document changes in ground 
cover, plant vigor, and species composition. Trend 
plots are essential in determining the workability of 
a grazing system, and they provide documented 
evidence on which to base future adjustments. 

5. Maximum livestock numbers allowed and period 
of use would be specified in all AMPs, i.e., AUMs 
allowed in any given year would not exceed the 
specified flexibility. Total allowable flexibility would 
not exceed 15 percent of the recognized carrying 
capacity. Accurate livestock numbers and period of 
use are essential, along with range trend study 
plots, to determine if objectives are being met or 
what changes may be necessary. 

6. Temporary livestock reductions would be made 
when forage conditions are below average produc- 
tivity. Temporary non-renewable licenses would be 
issued, not to exceed 15 percent of the allowable 
stocking rate, on better than average years of 
forage productivity. This would insure that over- 
stocking would not occur during years of poor pro- 



duction and would allow reasonable increases in 
use for better than average years. 

7. During the first cycle of the grazing system, the 
average actual grazing use would not exceed the 
recognized carrying capacity. Any use above the 
flexibility provision (not in excess of 15 percent) 
would be through a temporary non-renewable li- 
cense with a supporting Environmental Assessment 
Record (EAR). Grazing systems cannot be properly 
evaluated if not run in conformation with the de- 
signed system. 



RANGE IMPROVEMENTS 



A series of range improvements would be nec- 
essary to implement the proposed grazing manage- 
ment program. The types of projects proposed in- 
clude fences (including new fence, fence removal, 
and fence crossings), cattleguards, stockwater res- 
ervoirs, wells, spring developments, water pipelines, 
stock tanks, rainwater catchments, contour furrow- 
ing, sagebrush spraying, and plowing and seeding. 

No developments are currently planned for non- 
AMP allotments or unallotted areas. Only those de- 
velopments considered absolutely necessary are 
proposed for the initial implementation of the re- 
vised and proposed AMPs. Range improvements 
are designed to provide water for livestock, control 
movement of livestock, provide additional forage 
where needed, encourage livestock distribution, 
and enhance use of available forage. 

Range improvements are normally constructed 
by private contractors to BLM's specifications. In 
addition to detailed engineering specifications for 
each type of range improvement, the following gen- 
eral procedures apply to all projects. 

1. No ground disturbance (excavation, road con- 
struction, vegetation removal) would be allowed 
without approval by the District Manager or his au- 
thorized representative. 

2. For range improvement projects that require soil 
disturbance such as reservoirs, topsoil would be 
stockpiled and replaced when the project is com- 
pleted. Revegetation of all disturbed areas is done 
with native grasses or as otherwise specified by the 
District Manager. 

3. Public and private roads damaged by the con- 
tractor would be restored at his expense. 

A-26 



4. All access construction would be accomplished 
with due regard for environmental considerations. 
Cut slopes and fill slopes would be no steeper than 
3:1 in all soils other than rock unless otherwise 
specified. After designated sections of the access 
or haul roads are no longer needed for construction 
or traffic purposes, the ditches would be filled and 
the roadway rough graded to restore approximately 
the original contour of the ground, or to produce a 
pleasing appearance by forming natural, rounded 
slopes. After the rough grading is completed, the 
access road would be scarified or plowed and then 
harrowed. The cut and fill slopes and roadbed 
would be smoothed and seeded with a cover of 
grasses native to the area or known to grow in the 
area or as otherwise specified. 

5. The contractor would be responsible for comply- 
ing with all applicable state air pollution control 
rules and regulations. 

6. The contractor would take sufficient precautions 
to prevent pollution of already existing streams, 
lakes, or reservoirs encountered during the project 
development. 

7. Erosion control features would be constructed 
concurrently with other work. The District Manager 
maintains the authority to limit the surface area of 
erodible earth material exposed by clearing and 
grubbing, excavation, borrow, and embankment op- 
erations in progress commensurate with the con- 
tractor's capability and progress in completing the 
finish grading, mulching, seeding, and other such 
permanent erosion control measures. 

8. The areas where ground is disturbed by range 
improvements would be inventoried to locate pre- 
historic and historic features before construction of 
that improvement. Any significant cultural resources 
found would be mitigated before the project begins. 
If buried cultural remains were encountered during 
construction, the operator would temporarily discon- 
tinue construction and notify the BLM. These meas- 
ures are required to comply with the Antiquities Act 
of 1906, the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1 969, and Ex- 
ecutive Order 11593 (1971). In summary, the meas- 
ures require identification of prehistoric and historic 
sites, the nomination of eligible sites to the National 
Register of Historic Places, and consideration of 
those sites in the planning process. 

9. No action would be taken by BLM that would 
jeopardize the continued existence of any federally 
listed threatened or endangered plant or animal 
species. A survey of potential habitats for the en- 
dangered black-footed ferret must be made prior to 
making a decision to take any action described in 
this document that could affect this species. Should 
this survey, which will be called the Prairie Dog/ 



Black-Footed Ferret Habitat Management Plan, -de- 
termine that the proposed action may affect the 
ferret, formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife 
Service would be initiated. BLM would also comply 
with any state laws applying to animal or plant 
species identified by the state as being threatened 
or endangered (in addition to the federally listed 
species). If the potentially threatened plant species 
Rorippa calycera is found in the area, all range 
improvement projects would be designed to avoid 
them. Further, grazing systems would be adjusted 
to fit the needs of this species. 

10. A reconnaissance survey of proposed range 
improvement sites for the likelihood of uncovering 
scientifically significant fossils would be made only 
under the following conditions: (1) the proposed 
improvement site is located in a known scientifically 
significant fossils collecting area, (2) the proposed 
improvement site is located in a rock formation 
known to contain abundant numbers of scientifically 
significant fossils, and (3) the proposed improve- 
ment is located in an area known to contain prehis- 
toric kill sites. 

11. The 1971 Memorandum of Understanding (Sup- 
plement No. 1) between BLM and the Montana 
Fish and Game Commission concerning the me- 
chanical and chemical alteration of vegetation 
would be adhered to. This agreement calls for 
formal planning and coordination for any such treat- 
ment to begin at least two years before implemen- 
tation. It also stipulates the procedures for resolu- 
tion of disagreements over the size, location, and 
timing of vegetation treatments. 

12. An adequate buffer strip would be left untreated 
on both sides of all drainages containing live water 
in or adjacent to vegetation manipulation projects. 

13. Spray operations would not be conducted in 
winds over seven miles per hour to insure proper 
placement and to avoid spraying non-target areas. 

14. Vegetation manipulation sites would be carefully 
selected with regard to topography and soil type to 
minimize soil compaction, reduced infiltration, and 
soil loss. 

15. Reseeding would be done by drilling wherever 
feasible. 

Additional design features, specifically applica- 
ble to proposed individual range developments, are 
provided in the following discussions. 



A-27 



Fences 



Approximately 551 miles of new fencing and 42 
miles of fence removal are included in the pro- 
posed grazing management program. Fence con- 
struction involves several separate steps. Fence 
lines would be surveyed and staked. Stretch panels 
(2 to 3 wooden posts approximately 6 feet apart 
with wooden braces between each post) would be 
constructed at each quarter mile point along the 
fence lines. The top wire would be unrolled and 
stretched between the panels. Steel fence posts 
would be driven approximately 16 feet apart. The 
remaining wires would then be unrolled and 
stretched between the panels. Where called for, 
steel wire stays would be placed between each 
post. Each of these operations would normally re- 
quire off-road vehicular traffic along the fence 
route. Where fences cross existing roads, either 
gates or cattleguards would be installed. Placement 
of cattleguards would be determined by traffic vol- 
umes. All new fences would have at least one gate 
every mile and gates in every right angle corner. 
Pasture and boundary division fences would be 
built with barbed wire except on antelope ranges 
where the bottom strand would be smooth wire to 
allow for antelope movement. Most fences would 
be four-strand "Type D" antelope fences; however, 
three-strand fences may occasionally be used. For 
three-wire fences, the following spacing would be 
used for the fence wires: bottom wire 16 inches 
above the ground, top wire 38 inches above the 
ground. For four-strand fences, the following spac- 
ing would be used: bottom wire 16 inches above 
the ground; second wire 22 inches; third wire 30 
inches; and top wire 42 inches. Over 17 miles of 
fencing is proposed in allotments with sheep use. 
These fences would be woven wire fences with two 
strands of barbed wire along the top, having a total 
height of 4 feet, six inches. 

Twenty-three specialized fence sections for 
drainage crossings are proposed. These fence 
crossings are composed of wood swing panels sus- 
pended from wire rope over deeply incised drain- 
ages. Such specialized fence crossings are neces- 
sary to prevent cattle movement within drainage- 
ways. 



Cattleguards 



Cattleguard construction would involve the exca- 
vation of a trench approximately 8 feet wide, 11 
feet long, and 2 feet deep. A concrete base or 
treated timber base would be set into the excava- 



tion and earth would be backfilled and compacted 
around it so that a pit would remain in the middle of 
the base. A metal grid with openings large enough 
to deter animals from walking across but close 
enough to allow vehicles to drive over would be set 
onto the base. It would be held in place by a lip of 
the base or bolted to the base. The cattleguard 
would be installed in a fence at a road intersection 
and would be square with the road in those cases 
where the fence crosses the road at an angle. A 
gate would be placed to one side of the cattleguard 
to allow movement of livestock through the fence. 
In addition, extremely heavy loads or wide loads 
could be taken through the gate rather than over 
the cattleguard which would be built with a 15 to 20 
ton limit. All cattleguards would be placed level with 
the existing or proposed roadbed to eliminate 
safety hazards. Forty-one new cattleguards are in- 
cluded in the proposed grazing management pro- 
gram. 



Stockwater Reservoirs 



Stockwater reservoirs would impound water 
throughout the year for livestock use. Four hundred 
and thirty-six reservoirs are included in the revised 
or proposed allotment management plans. Water 
storage capacity would average 12 acre feet. Con- 
struction is usually done on a contract and con- 
struction time normally does not exceed two weeks 
depending on weather conditions and the extent of 
excavation. 

Reservoir development involves core drilling, 
surveying of the site, establishment of access 
roads where necessary, site preparation, construc- 
tion, and rehabilitation. Surveying and staking of the 
project site involves some off-road vehicular travel 
by survey crews. In most cases, there would be no 
need for construction of access roads because 
equipment would be able to drive across country to 
the construction site. Site preparation includes 
clearing of the project site with heavy equipment 
and removal and stockpiling of topsoil. After the 
excavation and embankment area have been pre- 
pared, a core trench is cut down the axis of the 
dam. This trench is at least three feet deep. Borrow 
areas are established using a draw scraper or self- 
propelled rubber-tired scraper which places dirt 
from the designated borrow area onto the embank- 
ment area in successive lifts until the required res- 
ervoir size is reached. A spillway is included in the 
design of all reservoirs. In some cases, a culvert is 
installed. This corrugated metal pipe, generally 18 
inches in diameter, is placed in the fill area to allow 
for minor flows. The stockpiled topsoil is replaced 



A-28 










Figure A3-1 Approximately 550 miles of new fencing is proposed in the ES area. 



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Figure A3-2 Typical three-strand barbed wire fence. The bottom strand is smooth to allow wildlife to pass under 



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Figure A3-3 Typical four-strand barbed wire fence. The bottom strand is smooth to allow wildlife to pass under 
the fence. 



A-29 







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Figure A3-4 Forty-one new cattleguards are included in the proposed grazing management program. 










Figure A3-5 Typical cattleguard with associated gate for livestock movement. 



A-30 



with a crawler type tractor or scraper. After the 
topsoil has been replaced, the reservoir site and 
access road bed are seeded with grasses native to 
the area, or as otherwise specified in construction 
specifications. 



Wells 



Development of 34 wells is included in the pro- 
posed action. Well development begins with loca- 
tion and staking of the well site. In most cases, 
there would be no need for construction of access 
roads because equipment would be able to drive 
across country to the construction site. Well drilling 
begins with placement of a drill rig, usually mounted 
on a truck on a leveled site. Wells are drilled with a 
cable tool or rotary drill with a diameter ranging 
from two to eight inches and to depths ranging 
from 50 to 1,200 feet. Casing the drilled hole is 
done by lowering steel pipe down the hole and 
welding or coupling the successive pieces of pipe 
together. A perforated casing is used in the water- 
bearing zones. After the well is drilled, a concrete 
platform is poured around the well opening to pro- 
vide a platform for a pumping station and a sanitary 
seal around the well casing. Except where flowing 
artesian water is found, various types of pumps 
would be used to bring water to the surface: wind- 
mills, electric pumps, or gas engine pumps. The 
pumps are installed directly over the well hole or in 
a small pump house, within a fenced enclosure, to 
protect it from weather and other damage. If an 
electric motor is used to power the pump, an over- 
head power line is normally built to the well site 
from the nearest power source. A tank to hold 
water for livestock would be installed near the well 
site. This tank would be constructed of wood or 
metal and would vary in size according to the uses 
or needs proposed. Also, a pad may be construct- 
ed of either gravel or concrete for the tank to sit 
on. 



pipe from the box to a watering trough or tank. For 
sites where the water seeps from a larger area, the 
gathering devices would be perforated pipes placed 
horizontally into the seep area. Water would be 
moved by pipe from the gathering device to a verti- 
cal head box from which it would be piped into a 
watering trough or tank. 

Most springs would at least yield one gallon per 
minute. Spring developments would be fenced. The 
collection box would not be located over the spring. 
An overflow drain pipe would be installed in the 
stock tank or watering trough to conduct the 
excess water away from the drinking area. All dis- 
turbed areas would be seeded with native grass 
species. Stockwater tanks would be located well 
away from the collection system and spring box. 



Pipelines 



Nearly 60 miles of water pipelines are proposed. 
The pipelines would carry water from a source (well 
or spring) to an area where water is not now availa- 
ble. After the pipeline route is surveyed and staked, 
a pipeline trench is dug with a trenching machine 
no deeper than six feet and no greater than 12 
inches in width. The plastic pipe used for the pipe- 
line is generally no greater than two inches in diam- 
eter. After the pipeline is placed in the trench, the 
trench is refilled and a berm is mounded over the 
trench to prevent depressions caused by settle- 
ment of the backfill material. After the trench has 
been filled, the pipeline site is seeded to grasses 
native to the area or as otherwise specified in the 
construction specifications. Livestock watering facil- 
ities are established at predetermined points along 
the pipeline. Approximately 7.2 acres would be dis- 
turbed by pipeline construction. 



Stock Tanks 



Springs 



Development of 25 springs is included in the 
proposed action. In most cases, there would be no 
need for construction of access roads because 
equipment would be able to drive across country to 
the spring development site. A hole of approximate- 
ly five cubic feet is excavated at the spring site. A 
vertical pipe with horizontal collector lines would be 
inserted and would function as a collection box. 
Water would be piped in a small diameter plastic 



Seventy-four new stockwater tanks are pro- 
posed. Stockwater tanks are livestock watering 
facilities, or troughs, and would be round tanks or 
rectangular metal boxes of varying sizes. The size 
of each watering facility would be determined by 
the number of animals expected to use the facility. 
Generally wooden posts partially buried in the 
ground and a wooden frame around the trough 
would be used to steady the structure. All stock 
tanks would be equipped with bird ramps or other 
devices to prevent the drowning of birds and mam- 



A-31 




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A-32 




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Figure A3-7 Nearly 60 miles of water pipelines are proposed in the ES area. 




Figure A3-8 Seventy-four new stockwater tanks are proposed in the ES area. 



A-33 



mals. Approximately one-tenth of an acre would be 
disturbed with each watering tank. 



Rainwater Catchments 



Where development of other sources of water 
such as springs, wells, or reservoirs is not feasible, 
rainwater collections devices known as catchments 
or artificial watersheds would be used. A catchment 
is basically an area that has been scraped out and 
lined with butyl rubber, asphalt, or some other wa- 
terproof material to collect water. The water is then 
run into a storage system, usually large rubber 
bags, and made available for use. The water is 
piped through a watering device, which automatical- 
ly regulates the water dispersed based on the 
amount consumed. Twenty-five rainwater catch- 
ments are included in the proposed AMPs. 

The size of the collection area and the storage 
facility will be determined by the average annual 
rainfall and water needed in the area. The water 
would be stored in a pit excavated with a track-type 
tractor. Lined with butyl rubber, a pit measuring 28 
feet by 39 feet and six feet deep would hold ap- 
proximately 50,000 gallons of water. The pit or 
50,000 gallon storage bag would be surrounded by 
a three foot high earthen embankment to support 
and contain the bag. A watering facility would be 
located downhill from the storage tank, allowing for 
filling by gravity flow. The trench for the pipeline 
from the storage bag to the watering facility would 
normally be dug by backhoe and then backfilled 
after the pipe was emplaced. 

A fence would be constructed around the water 
collection area and the storage bag to exclude live- 
stock and big game. The fenced area would gener- 
ally enclose one acre or less, and total disturbance 
would be approximately one acre per catchment. 
After construction, the site would be reseeded with 
grass native to the area or as otherwise specified in 
the construction specifications. 



Contour Furrowing 



the discs fracture the soil to a depth of 10 to 15 
inches. This implement forms small dams every 15 
to 25 feet by dragging and dumping loose soil 
within the furrows. An effective furrowing implement 
of a little different design has been constructed by 
Mr. Frank Sparks, a rancher near Plevna, Montana. 
It consists of two moldboard plows butted together 
to form a large lister-furrower. This implement 
makes furrows about 24 inches wide and 3 to 6 
inches deep. Interfurrowed dams, which are neces- 
sary to obtain good water distribution within fur- 
rows, are created by raising and lowering lister 
shovels at intervals of 20 to 30 feet. Longevity of 
furrows largely depends on the effectiveness of the 
interfurrow dams (Neff I973), and the undisturbed 
sod dams created by the lister-furrower are much 
more durable than the loosely consolidated dams 
formed by the Arcadia Model B furrower. The con- 
tour furrowing recommended would utilize the lister- 
furrower type of equipment to the fullest extent 
possible. Contour furrowing is proposed for 2,253 
acres. 



Sagebrush Spraying 



Within areas of dense stands of sagebrush 
where competition with sagebrush is limiting or re- 
ducing the understory species of grasses and forbs, 
chemical spraying would be implemented, usually in 
late May or early June. Normally, spraying would 
occur by utilizing a low volatile ester form of 2,4-D. 
The rate of application would range from one to 
two pounds of 2,4-D per acre, using about three to 
five gallons of diesel oil-water emulsion per acre. 
Spraying is usually applied by either fixed-wing air- 
craft or helicopter. Flagging would be installed 
throughout the sprayed area to provide for non- 
spraying of irregular strips or patches. Each spray- 
ing project would be evaluated for environmental 
considerations and cleared through the Washington 
Office on a site-specific basis in accordance with 
BLM Manuals 7331 and 7411 and applicable coop- 
erative agreements with other federal and state 
agencies. Sagebrush spraying is proposed for 
2,236 acres. 



Contour furrowing is used primarily on sites 
where infiltration is very slow or clubmoss stands 
are most dense. Most furrowing has been done 
with an implement similar to the Arcadia Model B 
contour furrower developed by the U.S. Forest 
Service. This implement uses offset discs to create 
furrows approximately 20 inches wide and 6 to 10 
inches deep on 5-foot centers. Rippers ahead of 



Plowing and Seeding 



Where insufficient desirable forage plants exist, 
and natural revegetation and intensive grazing man- 
agement cannot raise or restore range condition to 
satisfactory levels, artificial seeding may be neces- 
sary. The object of the 10,850 acres of plowing and 



A-34 



seeding included in the proposed action is to 
reduce or eliminate less desirable plant species 
and increase available forage through replacement 
with more desirable species. In order to remove or 
reduce the existing vegetation, the identified sites 
would be plowed or pitted with various types of 
mechanical equipment and then reseeded to a 
more desirable species or mixture of species. De- 
pending on the manner in which the seedbed is 
prepared, seeding may be done by drilling or broad- 
cast seeding. Plowed and seeded land would be 
limited to the land with the gentlest slopes, to pre- 
vent erosion by surface runoff. Where the land to 
be plowed is not flat, plowing would be done on the 
contour (BLM Manual 7312). 



Maintenance 



Policy and guidelines for maintenance of range 
improvements constructed on lands administered 
by the BLM are found in Section 7I20 of the BLM 
Manual (Watershed Management). Existing and 
new fences built primarily for livestock management 
would be covered by maintenance agreements with 
a group or single licensee. Improvements would be 
maintained under BLM guidelines. Routine day-to- 
day repairs would be the responsibility of the licens- 
ee. 

Most BLM-owned improvements, including 
fences, wells, pipelines, catchments, reservoirs, and 
springs, would be maintained by BLM. Maintenance 
agreements for these improvements generally 
would limit the permittee, licensee, or group to peri- 
odic inspection and reporting damage or malfunc- 
tion. 



A-35 



APPENDIX 4 
DATA ON INDIVIDUAL AMPs 



A-37 



APPENDIX 4 
DATA ON INDIVIDUAL ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS 

Users Key For Appendix 4 

LANDFORM - Identifies AMPs in the riverbreaks , rolling plains, or 
mountains landform areas 

VEG - The range site in which the majority of the AMP lies. The numbers 
correspond to Map 2-4 in Chapter 2 of the Vegetation section. 

MAI - Notes AMPs with maintenance or minor improvement objectives 

IMP - Notes AMPs with substantial improvement objectives 

MGT - Notes AMPs which are proposed (P) , existing (E) , or revised (R) 

ALLOTMENT NAME - BLM name used for AMP identification 

ALLOT NO - The AMP identification number used in BLM's Range Management 
Automated System 

ACRES - The three entries under ACRES provide the acres of BLM or public 
land, acres of non-public land, and total acres within each AMP 

GS - The grazing system in the AMP including seasonal (S) , rest rotation 
(RR) , and deferred rotation (DR) . Where two grazing systems are shown, 
such as RR-S, a combination of the two types of systems is used. 

PAS - Number of pastures in the AMP. Where two numbers are shown, such 
as 2-1, this indicates a combination grazing system with a different 
number of pastures for each type of system. For example, an entry of 
RR-S and 2-1 indicates a two-pasture rest-rotation system with seasonal 
grazing on one pasture. 

CL - Class of livestock, with cattle (C) , sheep (S) , yearlings (Y) , 
horses (H) , and bison (B) 

SEASON OF USE - Dates when livestock grazing is licensed or permitted 

BLM ONLY, LIVESTOCK FORAGE PRODUCTION (AUMs) - The number of animal unit 
months (AUMs) as follows: 

Range Surv - The number of AUMs identified by the most recent 
complete range survey. In most cases, these surveys were done 
in the late 1950' s or 1960's. 

Lie Use - Current number of AUMs licensed 

Init. - Level of use suggested for the proposed, revised, or 
existing AMPs 

15 yr. pro j . - The number of AUMs available, assuming that 
15-year objectives are met 

POTENTIAL: Favorable years and unfavorable years - an estimate in 
AUMs of the potential forage available in that allotment 

A-38 



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A-48 



APPENDIX 5 
THE EFFECTS OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING ON SOILS 



A-49 



APPENDIX 5 
THE EFFECTS OF LIVESTOCK GRAZING ON SOILS 



Livestock grazing can bring about changes both 
in vegetation and soil. According to Smeins (1975), 
"Regardless of kind, class, or number, the overall 
influence of grazing animals is some combination of 
vegetation defoliation, trampling of vegetation and 
soil, and deposition of excreta. These influences 
may have beneficial and detrimental, as well as 
short-term and long-term, impacts." 

Soil influences on watershed condition also re- 
flect the importance of vegetation. Properties such 
as particle aggregation, soil depth, organic matter, 
and compactibility are directly related to vegetative 
cover and plant litter. 

Animal hooves with sharp edges and small sur- 
face area bear proportionately extreme weight, ex- 
erting downward pressures exceeding 1,400 grams 
per square meter (Spedding 1971). Trampling can 
destroy plant tissue both above and below the 
ground. Detrimental soil impacts include soil sur- 
face disturbance and soil compaction with resultant 
reduced water infiltration. Less water is then availa- 
ble for plant growth. These problems are especially 
critical in the fine textured clay soils with moderate 
to very steep slopes as are prevalent in the ES 
area, and riverbreaks landform in particular. Tramp- 
ling effects are especially detrimental under moist 
soil conditions such as occur in the spring. Particu- 
larly in the high clay content soils the counteracting 
forces of temperature and moisture action, such as 
frost heave, will reduce compaction with eliminated 
or minimal trampling (Rauzi and Hanson 1966). 

Beneficial effects of trampling include planting 
of seeds into the soil, as well as mixing of green 
herbage, litter, and excreta into the surface soil 
(Hormay 1956). 

Vegetation removal, if periodic, short-term, and 
partial, can increase plant tillering (shoot formation), 
generate a higher proportion of new tissue to old, 
stimulate an overall increase in vegetation cover, 
and enhance nutrient cycling. Harper (1969) found 
judiciously grazed vegetation to be more vigorous 
than comparable areas excluded from grazing, re- 
sulting in an overall increase in vegetation cover. 

Over-utilization of the vegetation resource leads 
to degradation of the watershed. Systems which 
incorporate deferral of grazing based upon seed 
ripening for plant regeneration, and those which 
incorporate a cyclic rest period, are designed to 
increase vegetation cover and thereby reduce 
water erosion susceptibility (Hormay 1956). 



Vegetation greatly influences precipitation inter- 
ception, water infiltration, percolation, evaporation 
and transpiration, water storage by soils, surface 
runoff, and erosion and deposition of soil (Smeins 
1975). Vegetation ground cover and size of ex- 
posed bare ground areas most greatly influence 
surface runoff and sediment yield on watersheds 
typical of the ES area (Branson and Owen 1970). 

Surface water runoff is directly proportional to 
grazing intensity (Rauzi and Hanson 1966). In stud- 
ies conducted in Colorado by Lusby (1970), grazed 
watersheds had 40 percent more runoff than un- 
grazed lands. Leithead (1959) further found that 
rangeland in good condition absorbed water five to 
six times faster than range in poor condition. This 
direct influence of grazing upon runoff is not exhib- 
ited on areas with fall-winter utilization, however 
(Rich and Reynolds 1963). 

Smeins (1975) concluded that "moderate graz- 
ing may maintain a favorable forage resource, 
would tend not to increase erosion hazard, and 
would possibly release good quality runoff water for 
use off the watershed," and that "grazing can be 
an integral part of most watershed systems if 
proper grazing systems are developed for the pecu- 
liarities of each particular watershed." Moderate 
forage utilization has been defined as 35 to 55 
percent utilization of the forage resource (Hanson 
etal. 1970). 

Willard and Herman (1977) studied the influence 
of grazing systems on revegetation and soils in the 
ES area. The study indicates that "rest rotation 
grazing in eastern Montana is generally better than 
season-long grazing. Generally, rest rotation graz- 
ing allowed for better vigor on key forage species, 
faster soil water infiltration, more litter on the 
ground surface, reduced amounts of Opuntia poly- 
cantha (prickly pear cactus), and greater production 
of desirable grasses for forage. Conversely, 
season-long grazing resulted in lower plant vigor, 
slower soil water infiltration, less litter, less produc- 
tion of desirable grasses, and more Opuntia poly- 
cantha." 

"Of all the grazing regimes included in our 
study, only winter grazing allowed for better soil 
and plant conditions than did rest rotation grazing. 
However, this is to be expected. Plants are dor- 
mant during winter, so that adverse effects of graz- 
ing would be minimal. Soils are frozen during this 
time and would be relatively free from compaction 
by trampling." 



A-50 



"Only two sites grazed under a deferred rotation 
system were sampled. The system had been in use 
for six years, a period which is too short to allow 
the plants and soil to fully respond. No definite 
conclusions were drawn about the usefulness of 
this system." 

"It is apparent from our study that range im- 
provement in the northern Great Plains is slow. 
Even though range improvement is occurring on a 
site, a long period of time is required before sub- 
stantial improvement in range condition will occur." 



A-51 



APPENDIX 6 

EXISTING AND PROJECTED RANGE CONDITION AND 
VEGETATION TYPES - BY AMP 



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A-87 



APPENDIX 7 
RANGE SITES 



A-89 



CLIMAX VEGETATION OF MONTANA 
BASED ON SOILS AND CLIMATE 



Site descriptions 
in the publication 
and Climate" (Ross 
taken from county 
graphic maps, Soil 
Site Descriptions, 
productivity and 1 
from SCS Technical 
For several range 
from similar sites 



are based primarily in information provided 
"Climax Vegetation of Montana Based on Soils 
and Hunter 1976) , with supplemental data 

soil surveys, U.S. Geological Survey topo- 
Conservation Service (SCS) Technical Range 
and BLM administrative records. Range site 

ivestock carrying capacity data was obtained 
Range Site Descriptions where available. 

sites, this information had to be extrapolated 



Rolling Plains Landform 

1. Silty Range Site, 10-14" Precipitation Zone (P.Z.) 

Total acres within ES area - 47,604 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation * 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Little bluestem 
Prairie junegrass 
Porcupine grass 
Blue grama 
Native legumes 
Silver sagebrush 
Western snowberry 
Winterf at 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure ** 

Blue grama 

Needleand thread 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Prairie junegrass 

Threadleaf sedge 

Silver sagebrush 

Clubmoss 

Fringed sagewort 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Plains pricklypear 



2. Silty-Clayey Range Site Complex, 10-14" P.Z 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 2 
Proposed AMPs 5 
Revised AMPs 1 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 148,239 



54,578 
13,013 
67,591 



This site occurs on undulating to rolling uplands, low 
terraces, fans, and flood plains. Slopes range from 0-15% 
but generally are 4-8%. This site occurs on all exposures 
Elevation ranges from 2,000 to 3,500 feet. 



*Listed in approximate order of dominance 

**Based primarily on response to grazing pressure by cattle 



A-90 



Relative composition by weight of the climax vegetation on 
this site is approximately 85% grass, 10% f orbs , and 5% 
shrubs. Total annual production for excellent condition 
range averages 1,400 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2.5 a/AUM (acres per animal unit month) 
on excellent condition range to 10 a/AUM on poor condition 



range 



Silty : Same as Site No. 1 
Clayey ; 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Little bluestem 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Biscuitroot 
Milkvetch 
American vetch 
Silver sagebrush 
Winterf at 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Blue grama 

Prairie junegrass 

Plains reedgrass 

Silver sagebrush 

Fringed sagewort 

Curlycup gumweed 

Eriogonum 

Biscuitroot 

Onion 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Plains pricklypear 



3. Silty Range Site, 10-14" P.Z. 

Total acres within ES area - 58,619 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Needleandthread 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Basin wildrye 
Prairie junegrass 
Native legumes 
Silver sagebrush 
Blue grama 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Needleandthread 
Threadleaf sedge 
Hairy goldenaster 
Golden pea 
Fringed sagewort 
Other weedy forbs 
Big sagebrush 
Rabbitbrush 
Broom snakeweed 
Plains pricklypear 
Clubmoss 



A-91 



4. Silty-Clayey Range Site Complex, 10-14" P.Z. 

Total acres within ES area - 206,931 
Public lands within AMPs 19,897 
Other lands within AMPs 10, 379 

Total 30,276 

This site occurs on terraces and nearly level to moderately 
steep fans and footslopes, and ranges in elevation from 
2,500 to 5,000 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the climax vegetation on 
this site is approximately 85% grass, 10% forbs, and 5% 
shrubs. Total annual production of excellent condition 
range averages 1,200 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2.5 a/AUM on excellent condition range 
to 13 a/AUM on range in poor condition. 

Silty : Same as Site No. 3 

Clayey : Same as Site No. 5 

5. Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 10-14" P.Z 
Total acres within ES area - 394,898 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Green needlegrass 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Need leand thread 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Milkvetch 

Scarlet globemallow 
Winterfat 
Prairie sandreed* 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Prairie junegrass 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Plains reedgrass 

Blue grama 

Eriogonum 

Western yarrow 

Fringed sagewort 

Curlycup gumweed 

Biscuitroot 

Onion 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Broom snakeweed 

Rabbitbrush 



*Growing on fractured shale outcrops 



A-92 



6. Silty Range Site, 10-14" P.Z. 

(Includes thin breaks too small or irregular to delineate) 

Total acres within ES area - 408,564 
Existing AMPs 6 
Proposed AMPs 3 
Public lands within AMPs 
Otner lands within AMPs 

Total 



165,504 
137,549 
303,053 



This site occurs on undulating to rolling uplands, low 
terraces, fans and flood plains. Slopes range from 0-15% 
but are generally 4-8%. This site occurs on all exposures, 
and elevation ranges from 2,000 to 3,500 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
site is approximately 85% grass, 10% f orbs , and 5% shrubs. 
Total annual production for excellent condition ranee 
averages about 1,500 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2-8 a/AUM on excellent condition range 
to 11.1 a/AUM on range in poor condition. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Need leand thread 
Green needlegrass 
Blue grama 
Little bluestem 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Big bluestem 
Threadleaf sedge 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Native legumes 
Big sagebrush 
Silver sagebrush 
Skunkbush sumac 
Winterf at 
Western snowberry 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Blue grama 

Need leand thread 

Threadleaf sedge 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Prairie junegrass 

Silver sagebrush 

Fringed sagewort 

Hairy goldenaster 

Western yarrow 

Pussytoes 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Western snowberry 

Broom snakeweed 

Plains pricklypear 



7. 



Silty-Clayey Range Site Complex, 10-14" P.Z 

area - 326,104 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 1 
Proposed AMPs 2 9 
Revised AMPs 1 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



142,473 

80,881 

223,354 



Physiographic features are similar to site number 6. 
Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
range site is also the same. 



A-93 



Total annual production for rangeland in excellent condition 
averages 1,400 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying capacity 
varies from 2-8 a/AUM on excellent condition range to 11.1 
a/AUM on poor condition range. 

(Includes thin breaks too small or irregular to delineate) 

Silty : Same as Site No. 6 

Clayey : Same as Site No. 8 

Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 10-14' 

area - 620,532 



8. 



P.Z 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 4 
Proposed AMPs 2 7 
Revised AMPs 2 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



380,040 
108,933 
488,973 



This site occurs on undulating to rolling or strongly 
dissected uplands. Slopes range from 0-35%, and elevation 
ranges from 2,000 to 3,500 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
site is approximately 85% grass, 10% f orbs , and 5% shrubs. 
Total annual production for range in excellent condition 
averages about 1,200 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2.5 a/AUM on excellent condition range 
to 11.1 a/AUM on poor range. 



Dominants in the 
C limax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Little bludstem 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Prairie sandreed* 
Native legumes 
Big sagebrush 
Nuttall saltbush 
Winterf at 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Buf f alograss 
Curlycup gumweed 
Golden pea 
Biscuitroot 
Onion 

Other weedy forbs 
Big sagebrush 
Broom snakeweed 
Annuals 



*Growing on fractured shale outcrops 

A-94 



9. Dense Clay-Clayey-Saline Upland Range Site Complex, 
10- IV P.Z. 



Total acres within ES area - 160,321 
Existing AMPs 2 

Public lands within AMPs 63,627 
Other lands within AMPs 5, 072 

Total 68,699 

The topography of this range site varies from undulating 
to rolling uplands, low terraces, fans, and flood plains on 
the clayey and dense clay soil types, to nearly level to 
gently shoping foot slopes of shale beds. Slopes are generally 
about 4 to 8%. This site occurs on all exposures, and elevation 
ranges from 2,000 to 3,500 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
site is about 65% grass, 5% forbs, and 30% shrubs on the 
saline uplands soils, and approximately 85% grass, 10% forbs, 
and 5% shrubs on the dense clay and clayey soils. Total annual 
average production ranges from 500 pounds per acre on saline 
upland soils to 1,300 pounds per acre on dense clay soils. 

Livestock carrying capacity ranges from 2.5 a/AUM on 
excellent condition clayey soils to 100 a/AUM on poor 
condition saline upland soils. 



Dense Clay : 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Big sagebrush 
Nuttall saltbush 
Greasewood 
Basin wildrye 

Clayey : Same as Site No. 8 

Saline' Upland : 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Alkali sacaton 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Greasewood 
Basin wildrye 
Nuttall saltbush 
Inland saltgrass 
Bottlebrush squirreltail 
Sandberg biuegrass 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Big sagebrush 
Prairie junegrass 
Sandberg biuegrass 
Golden pea 
Curlycup gumweed 
Eriogonum 
Annuals 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Inland saltgrass 

Greasewood 

Foxtail barley 

Bottlebrush squirreltail 

Poverty weed 

Belvedere summercypress 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Rabbitbrush 



A-95 



10. Badlands, 10-14" P.Z. 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 1 
Proposed ZvMPs 4 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 50,375 



15,848 
9,499 



25,347 



This site consists of severely wooded, steep to very steep, 
nearly barren lands. Deep ravines are formed by geological 
erosion of the soft sedimentary beds. Elevation ranges from 
2,000 to 3,500 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this site 
is approximately 80% grass, 5% forbs, and 15% shrubs. Total 
annual production in excellent condition averages about 400 
pounds per acre. Livestock carrying capacity varies from 
20 a/AUM on range in excellent condition to 100 a/AUM on 
poor condition range. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Little bluestem 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Prairie sandreed 
Alkali sacaton 
Prairie junegrass 
Nuttall saltbush 
Big sagebrush 
American vetch 
Plains muhly 
Sideoats grama 
Greasewood 
Juniper 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Need leand thread 

Threadleaf sedge 

Blue grama 

Plains reedgrass 

Big sagebrush 

Silver sagebrush 

Juniper 

Rabbitbrush 

Broom snakeweed 

Eriogonum 

Phlox 

Pussytoes 

Hairy goldenaster 

Golden pea 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 



A-96 



11. Silty Range Site, 10-14" P.Z. 



Tot a], acres within ES 



area - 112,673 



Existing AMPs 1 
Proposed AMPs 1 
Revised AMPs 1 

Public lands within AMP 20,203 
Other lands within AMPs 2 0_ i 7_38 

Total "40,941 

This site occurs on undulating to rolling uplands, low 
terraces, fans and flood plains. Slopes range from to 
15%, but generally are about 4 to 8%. This site occurs on 
all exposures, and ranges in elevation from 2,500 to 5,000 
feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
site is about 85% grass, 10% forbs, and 5% shrubs. Total- 
annual production on rangeiand in excellent condition 
averages about 1,500 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2.8 a/AUM on excellent condition range 
to 11.1 a/AUM on poor condition range. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Nee ldeand thread 
Threadleaf sedge 
Prairie junegrass 
Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Native legumes 
Big and silver sagebrush 
Skunkbush sumac 
Winterf at 



Plants that Increase 
w i t h Grazing Pressure 

Blue grama 
Need leand thread 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Threadleaf sedge 
Prairie junegrass 
Big sagebrush 
Western snowberry 
Rabbitbrush 
Broom snakeweed 
Fringed sagewort 
Hairy goldenaster 
Western yarrow 
Pussytoes 
Other weedy forbs 
Annuals 



12. Silty Range Site, 15-19" P.Z. 



Total acres within ES 
Proposed AMPs 2 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 16,259 

3,030 

625 

3,655 



This site is found in only one small area in Fergus County 
within the ES area. Total annual production for this 
site in excellent condition averages about 2,200 pounds 
per acre. Livestock carrying capacity for this site varies 
from 2.1 a/AUM on excellent condition range to 10.0 a/AUM 
on range in poor condition. 



A-97 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Iadho fescue 
Green needlegrass 
Basin wildrye 
Need leand thread 
Native legumes 
Big sagebrush 
Sticky geranium 
Prairiesmoke 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Need leand thread 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Biq sagebrush 
Western snowberry 
Fringed sagewort 
Golden pea 
Scurfpea 

Other weedy forbs 
Annuals 



13. Silty-Clayey Range Site Complex, 10-14" P.Z. 

area - 25,519 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 2 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



5,669 
4,127 
9,796 



The general topography, slope, exposure, relative vegetative 
composition, and elevation are similar to Range Site Number 
11. 

Total annual production for this site in excellent condition 
averages about 1,400 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity varies from 2.5 a/AUM on range in excellent condition 
to 11.1 a/AUM on range in poor condition. 

Silty ; Same as Site No. 11 

Clayey: Same as Site No. 14. 

14. Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 
10-14" P.Z. 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 3 
Proposed AMPs 35 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other land within AMPs 

Total 



area - 1,377,548 



134,375 
143,292 



277,667 



This site occurs on rolling uplands, low terraces, fans, 
flood plains, or strongly dissected uplands. Slopes range 
from about 4 to 8% on clayey soils to 15 to 35% on shallow 
clay soils. Elevation ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 feet. 

Relative composition by weight of the vegetation on this 
site is approximately 85% grass, 10% forbs, and 5% shrubs. 
Total annual production for this site in excellent condition 
is about 1,200 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying capacity 
ranges from 2.5 a/AUM on excellent condition range to 11.1 

a/AUM on range in poor condition. 



A-98 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Western and thickspike 

whcatgrass 
Green neecllegrass 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Cusick bluegrass 
Big sagebrush 
Winterf at 
Prairie sandreed* 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Big sagebrush 

Blue grama 

Prairie junegrass 

Needl candthread 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Rabbi thrush 

Broom snakeweed 

Eriogonum 

Annuals 

White pointloco 

Onion 

Other weedy forbs 



15. Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 15-19" P.Z 

area - 636,418 



Total acres within ES 
Proposed AMPs 1 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



520 

_0 

520 



This site occurs in the uplands on slopes from nearly level 
to moderately steep. Estimated total average yield of 
forage per acre produced annually on climax excellent 
condition range is 2,000 pounds per acre. Livestock carrying 
capacity ranges from about 2.2 a/AUM to 11.1 a/AUM. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Columbia and green 

needlegrass 
Idaho fescue 
Basin wildrye 
Big sagebrush 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Prairie sandreed* 
Lupine 

Other native legumes 
Sticky geranium 
Prairiesmoke 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Prairie junegrass 

Idaho fescue 

Cusick bluegrass 

Big sagebrush 

Western snowberry 

Shrubby cinquefoil 

Fringed sagewort 

Milkvetch 

Golden pea 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 



: Growing on fractured shale outcrops 



A-99 



16. Forest-Grassland Complex, 12-14" P.Z., on very shallow 
to deep soils with a frigid temperature regime. These 
soils have light brown, loamy surfaces and occur on 
rolling to steep terrain. 

Total acres within ES area - 2,721 

Forest: (50%) 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Ponderosa pine 

Rocky Mountain juniper 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 

Western wheatgrass 

Skunkbush sumac 

Snowberry 

Needle and thread 



Plants that Increase 
wi th Grazing Pressure 

Need leand thread 

Western wheatgrass 

Prairie junegrass 

Snowberry 

Rose 

Fringed sagewort 

Other weedy forbs 



Rocky Mountain juniper will increase in areas where 
ponderosa pine has been removed by fire, logging, insects, 
or disease. 



Grassland : (50%) 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Need leand thread 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Big sagebrush 
Prairie sandreed 
Native legumes 
Prairie junegrass 



Plants that Increase 
w ith Grazing Pressure 

Need leand thread 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Big sagebrush 
Broom snakeweed 
Rabbitbrush 
Fringed sagewort 
Hairy goldenaster 
Other weedy forbs 
Annuals 



17. Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 10-14" P.Z 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 2 
Proposed AMPs 10 
Revised AMPs 1 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 144,647 



95,652 

40,138 

135,790 



A-100 



This is a common upland range site throughout the 10-14" 
precipitation zone. It can occur at all elevations in the 
landscape except those recicving more moisture. 

Estimated total annual production for this site in excellent 
condition is approximately 1,3 00 pounds per acre. Livestocy 
carrying capacity on excellent condition range varies from 
2.5 to 11 a/AUM on range in poor condition. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Basin wildrye 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Big sagebrush 
Milkvetch 
American vetch 
Biscuitroot 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressu re 

Big sagebrush 
Prairie junegrass 
Plains reedgrass 
Cusick bluegrass 
Rabbitbrush 
Biscuitroot 
Onion 

White pointloco 
Curlycup gumweed 
Other weedy forbs 
Plains pricklypear 
Annuals 



Riverbreaks Landform 



18. Riverbreaks, 10-14" P.Z. 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 3 
Proposed AMPs 30 
Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 407,828 



194,757 
111,539 
306,296 



The riverbreaks range site is a composite of a variety of 
soils, topography, and vegetative types. Narrow bands of 
bottomlands are located adjacent to the river, hillsides are 
steep, and tributary streams are steep walled. The land is 
intricately dissected, particularly near the Missouri River. 

Productivity is also quite variable, ranging from about 250 
pounds per acre on shale outcrops to 1,300 pounds per acre 
on the silty soil types. Livestock carrying capacity would 
also vary from about 2 . 6 to 100 a/AUM. 



A-101 



Domi nan ts in the 
Climax Vcgotat ion 

Ponderosa pine 

Rocky Mountain juniper 

Limber pine 

Douglas-fir 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Prairie sandreed 
Little bluestem 
Greasewood 
Big sagebrush 
Need leand thread 
Nuttall saltbush 
Basin wildrye 
Native legumes 
Shadscaie saltbush 
Creeping juniper 

19. Riverbreaks, 10-14" P.Z 



Plants that Increase 
with G razing Pressure 

Blue grama 
Need leand thread 
Big sagebrush 
Sandberg oluegrass 
Plains muhly 
Prairie junegrass 
Rabbitbrush 
Broom snakeweed 
Hairy goldenaster 
Pussy toes 
Fringed sagewort 
Phlox 

Other weedy forbs 
Creeping juniper 
Annuals 



Total acres within ES 
Existing AMPs 14 
Proposed AMPs 7 8 
Revised AMPs 5 

Public lands within AMPs 
Other lands within AMPs 

Total 



area - 1,075,107 



627,039 
340,421 
967,460 



This range site is the same as Number 18 except the order 
of plant dominance. 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Ponderosa pine 

Rocky Mountain juniper 

Limber pine 

Douglas-fir (north slopes) 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Green needlegrass 
Prairie sandreed 
Basin wildrye 
Need leand thread 
Greasewood 
Big sagebrush 
Creeping juniper 
Native legumes 
Prairie junegrass 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Need leand thread 
Blue grama 
Sandberg bluegrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Threadleaf sedge 
Big sagebrush 
Rabbitbrush 
Creeping juniper 
Fringed sagewort 
Pussytoes 
Hairy goldenaster 
Other weedy forbs 
Annuals 



A-102 



High PJains Land form 

20. Silty Range Site, 15-19" P.Z. 

Total acres within ES area - 1,039,622 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Rough fescue 
Idaho fescue 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Columbia needlegrass 
Basin wildrye 
Spike fescue 
Parry danthonia 
Slender wheatgrass 
Lupine 

Sticky geranium 
Arrowleaf balsamroot 
Prairiesmoke 
Big sagebrush 
Tall larkspur 
Prairie junegrass 
Timber danthonia 
Big bluegrass 



21. Silty Range Site, 20-24" P.Z. 

Total acres within ES area - 25,323 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Rough fescue 

Columbia needlegrass 

Richardson needlegrass 

Mountain brome 

Bearded wheatgrass 

Slender wheatgrass 

Basin wildrye 

Idaho fescue 

Lupine 

Sticky geranium 

Prairiesmoke 

Tall larkspur 

Big sagebrush 

Spike fescue 

Spike trisetum 

Purple oniongrass 

Nodding brome 

Quaking aspen 

American bistort 



Plants that Increase 
w ith Grazing Pressure 

Idaho fescue 

Prairie junegrass 

Timber danthonia 

Big sagebrush 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Timothy 

Shrubby cinquefoil 

Lupine 

Cinquefoil forbs 

Arrowleaf balsamroot 

Pussytoes 

Western yarrow 

Other weedy forbs 

Threadleaf sedge 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Onespike danthonia 

Annuals 

Snowberry 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Idaho fescue 

Canby bluegrass 

Danthonia 

Timothy 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Big sagebrush 

Shrubby cinquefoil 

Prairiesmoke 

Cinquefoil forbs 

Lupine 

Mulesear wyethia 

Tall larkspur 

Other weedy forbs 

Snowberry 

Annuals 



A-103 



22. Silty-Clayey Range Site Complex, 15-19" P.Z. 
Total acres within ES area - 205,544 

Silty : Same as Site No. 20 
Clayey : Same as Site No. 23 

23. Clayey and Shallow Clay Range Site Association, 15-19" P.Z 
Total acres within ES area - 337,709 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Rough fescue 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Columbia needlegrass 
Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Idaho fescue 
Basin wildrye 
Lupine 

Sticky geranium 
Arrowleaf balsamroot 
Big sagebrush 
Prairfesmoke 
Prairie junegrass 
Deathcamas 



Mountains Landform 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pres sure 

Idaho fescue 

Western and thickspike 

wheatgrass 
Big sagebrush 
Kentucky bluegrass 
Timothy 
Danthonia 
Snowberry 
Lupine 

Arrowleaf balsamroot 
Cinquefoil forbs 
White pointloco 
Other weedy forbs 
Shrubby cinquefoil 
Annuals 



24. Alpine grassland on deep to moderately deep, well drained 
to poorly drained soils with cryic temperature regimes. 
These soils have dark brown and very dark brown surfaces 
and occur on sloping to steep windswept mountain tops 
above timberline. Soil parent materials variable. 
40-70" P.Z. 

White dryad is most commonly associated with well to 
excessively drained soils derived from limestone. The 
willows are confined to somewhat poorly drained soils. 



Total acres within ES area - 1,793 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Tufted hairgrass 

Sedge 

Sheep fescue 

Alpine bluegrass 

Alpine timothy 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Sedge 

Phlox 

Pussytoes 

Forgetmenot 

Cinquefoil forbs 



A- 104 



25. 



Native legumes Creeping silene 

Wolf willow Eriogonum 

Red mountainheath Shrubby cinquefoil 

White dryad 

Alpine bluebell 

Blue joint 

Purple reedgrass 

Moss silene 

Yellow avsns 

Tufted Phlox 

Eriogonum 

American bistort 

Shrubby cinquefoil 

Forest-Grassland Complex, 15-19" P.Z., on shallow to 
moderately deep soils with a frigid temperature regime 
These soils have brown to dark brown surfaces under 
grassland, and brown to gray surfaces under forest and 
occur on sloping to steep terrain. 



Total acres within ES area - 158,084 

Estimated annual production for this site in excellent 
condition averages about 1,300 pounds per acre. The live- 
stock carrying capacity would be similar to range site 26 
for the forest, and site 13 for the grassland. 



Forest : 



(60%) 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Common snowberry 

Woods rose 

Timber danthonia 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Lupine 

Other weedy forbs 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Douglas-fir 

Common snowberry 

White spiraea 

Oregongrape 

Heartleaf arnica 

Columbia needlegrass 

Idaho fescue 

Bearded wheatgrass 

Kinnikinnick 

Woods rose 

Utah honeysuckle 

Common juniper 

Lupine 

Wood lily 

With a loss of the climax forest overstory, ponderosa 
pine and occasionally lodgepole pine can occupy the 
Douglas-fir climax forest sites. 



A-105 



Grassland: (40%) 

Dominants in the 
C limax Vegetation 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Idaho fescue 
Columbia needlegrass 
Basin wildrye 
Rough fescue 
Spike fescue 
Parry danthonia 
Slender wheatgrass 
Lupine 

Sticky geranium 
Arrowleaf balsamroot 
Prairiesmoke 
Big sagebrush 
Tall larkspur 
Prairie junegrass 
Timber danthonia 
Big bluegrass 



Plants that Increase 
With Grazing Press u r e 

Idaho fescue 

Prairie junegrass 

Timber danthonia 

Big sagebrush 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Timothy 

Shrubby cinquefoil 

Lupine 

Cinquefoil forbs 

Arrowleaf balsamroot 

Pussytoes 

Western yarrow 

Other weedy forbs 

Threadleaf sedge 

Sandberg bluegrass 

Onespike danthonia 

Annuals 

Common snowberry 



26. Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine climax forests on deep 
soils. Terrain is steep to very steep mountain slopes, 
Parent materials are generally colluvium from igneous 
intrusive or limestone sources, 16-22" P.Z. 

Ponderosa pine climax forests occur on strongly sloping 
to very steep south and west facing slopes at elevations of 
4,000-6,000 feet and east aspects to about 5,000 feet. 
Associated soils have a frigid temperature regime and light 
brownish gray surfaces. Douglas-fir climax forests occur 
above the ponderosa pine forests on east, west, and south 
aspects and on steep to very steep north facing slopes from 
about 4,000-7,000 feet. Soils associated with the Douglas- 
fir climax forests have frigid or cyric temperature regimes 
and light gray or dark yellowish brown surfaces. The cryic 
soils occur only on north facing slopes within the cooler 
and more moist portions of the Douglas-fir climax forest. 
Where the Douglas-fir climax forest occurs to 7,000 feet on 
north facing slopes, the soils are developed in parent 
materials derived from limestone sources, have a cryic 
temperature regime, and dark yellowish brown surfaces. 
Elevational limits of this unit are 4,000-7,000 feet. 

Total acres within ES area - 140,526 
Public lands within AMPs 6,275 
Other lands within AMPs 3,03 7 

Total 9,312 



A-106 



Livestock carrying capacity on sites in excellent condition 
vary from 2.0 a/AUM on soils that are deep to moderately 
deep with a crown cover of about 10%, to 10.0 a/AUM on 
shallow soils with 60% crown cover. Sites in poor condition 
vary from 6.7 a/AUM on deep to moderately deep soils with a 
20% crown cover, to 20 a/AUM on moderately deep soils with 
a 60% crown cover. 

Typical overstory composition is: 



Douglas-fir 
Ponderosa pine 



60% 
40% 



Dominants in the 
Climax Veaetation 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 



Douglas-fir 

Ponderosa pine 

Rocky Mountain juniper 

Pinegrass 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 

Common snowberry 

Idaho fescue 

White spirea 

Elk sedge 

Mallow ninebark 

Oregongrape 

Heartleaf arnica 

Columbia needlegrass 

Bearded wheatgrass 

Mountain brome 

Richardson needlegrass 

Twinf lower 

Kinnikinnick 

Woods rose 

Utah honeysuckle 

Common juniper 

Lupine 



Pinegrass 
Danthonia 
Common snowberry 
Kentucky bluegrass 
Prairie junegrass 
Other weedy forbs 
Woods rose 
Mallow ninebark 



In this forest complex, with a loss of the climax 
forest overstory, ponderosa pine can occupy the Douglas- 
fir climax forest sites on frigid soils. Lodgepole 
pine frequently occupies the Douglas-fir sites on soils 
with a cryic temperature regime. Rocky Mountain juniper 
may increase on ponderosa pine climax forest sites. 



A-107 



27. Subalpine Fir, Douglas-fir, and Ponderosa Pine Climax 
Forests. Parent materials of these soils are derived 
from quartzites, argillites, and limestones of the Belt 
Series and igneous intrusive rocks, 16-35" P.Z. 

Ponderosa pine climax forests occur on moderately steep to 
very steep south and west facing slopes at elevations below 
about 5,000 feet. Associated soils have a frigid temperature 
regime and grayish brown surfaces. Douglas-fir climax 
forests occur on strongly sloping to very steep south and 
west facing mountain slopes at elevations of 5,000-7,500 
feet, with north and east aspects below 5,000-5,500 feet in 
elevation. Associated soils have frigid temperature regimes 
and light browish gray surfaces. In areas where the soils 
are derived from limestone or dolomite slopewash and are 
calcareous to with 24 inches or less of the soil surface, 
the upper boundary of the Douglas-fir zone may be 1,000 feet 
higher. Here soil surfaces are commonly brown to dark brown 
and may have a cryic temperature regime. The subalpine fir 
climax forest occurs above the upper limits of the Douglas- 
fir climax forest zone and is associated with soils having a 
cryic temperature regine and light yellowish brown to pale 
brown surfaces, occasionally light gray surfaces where the 
subsoils are moderately fine in texture or finer. Englemann 
spruce occasionally is the climax forest overstory component 
along the lower portion of the subalpine fir zone on soils 
with favorable moisture-holding capacity or where extra 
moisture is available. Elevational limits of the unit are 
3,000-8,000 feet. 

Total acres within the ES area - 270,684 
Proposed AMPs 1 

Public lands within AMPs 716 

Other lands within AMPs _8 

Total 724 

Livestock carrying capacity on this site will vary depending 
on overstory composition, crown cover, and soils. On 
excellent condition sites with subalpine fir the dominant 
species, crown cover about 20% of deep or moderately deep 
soils, carrying capacity would be about 2.2 a/AUM. On 
poor condition sites with 20% crown cover the carrying 
capacity would be about 20 a/AUM. 

Typical overstory composition is: 

Subalpine fir 50% 

Douglas-fir 35% 

Ponderosa pine 10% 

Engelmann spruce 5% 



A-108 



Dominants in the 
Climax V e getation 

Subalpine fir 
Douglas-fir 
Ponderosa pine 
Engelmann spruce 
Pinegrass 

Grouse whortleberry 
Dwarf huckleberry 
Bluebunch wheatgrass 
Mountain brome 
Columbia needlegrass 
Elk sedge 
Heartleaf arnica 
Common snowberry 
Mallow ninebark 
Blue wildrye 
Richardson needlegrass 
Bearded wheatgrass 
Idaho fescue 
Beargrass 
Pough fescue 
Oregongrape 
Twinf lower 



Plants that Increase 
with Grazing Pressure 

Pinegrass 

Danthonia 

Prairie junegrass 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Other weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Snowberry 

Rose 

Mallow ninebark 



28. Subalpine Fir and Douglas-fir Climax Forests. Soil 

parent materials are high variable and include sedimentary, 
igneous, and metamorphic rock sources, 20-45" P.Z. 

Douglas-fir climax forests occur on foot slopes to the 
valleys, strongly sloping to very steep south and west 
facing slopes to elevations of 6,500-7,000 feet, and 
north and east aspects below elevations of 5,500-6,000 
feet. Associated soils generally have light brownish gray 
surfaces. In areas where the soils are derived from lime- 
stone or dolomite slopewash and are calcareous to within 24" 
or less of the soil surface, the upper boundary of the 
Douglas-fir zone may be 1,000 feet higher. Here soil surfaces 
are commonly brown to dark grayish brown. The subalpine fir 
climax forest zone occurs above the Douglas-fir zone and is 
associated with soils having light yellowish brown to pale 
brown surfaces, occasionally light gray surfaces where the 
subsoils are moderately fine or finer in texture. Engelmann 
spruce occasionally is the climax forest overstory component 
along the lower portion of the subalpine fir zone on soils 
with favorable moisture-holding capacity or where extra 
moisture is available. Elevational limits of this unit are 
5,000-9,000 feet. 

Total acres within ES area - 87,973 



A-109 



Typical overstory composition is 



Subalpine fir 65% 

Douglas-fir 25% 

Engelmann spruce 10% 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

Subalpine fir 

Douglas-fir 

Engelmann spruce 

Pinegrass 

Grouse whortleberry 

Heartleaf arnica 

Blue huckleberry 

Common beargrass 

Elk sedge 

Dwarf huckleberry 

Bearded wheatgrass 

Mallow ninebark 

Oregon grape 

Saskatoon serviceberry 

Richardson needlegrass 

Columbia needlegrass 

Spike * trisetum 

Blue wildrye 

Idaho fescue 



Plants that Increase 
With Grazing Pressure 

Pinegrass 

Danthonia 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Common snowberry 

Rose 



29. Spruce and Douglas-fir Climax Forests. Parent materials 
are derived from limestones of the Big Snowy Group of 
Mississippian age, 20-45" P.Z. 

Douglas-fir climax forests occur on strongly sloping to very 
steep south and west facing slopes to elevations of 6,000- 
6,500 feet. Associated soils have a frigid temperature 
regime and grayish brown surfaces. Spruce and subalpine fir 
occur on strongly sloping to steep north and east facing 
slopes, and above the Douglas-fir climax forests on south 
and west slopes. Associated soils have a cyric temperature 
regime. The spruce occurs predominantly on soils with brown 
surface layers and calcareous; layers within about 24 inches 
or less of the soil surface. The subalpine fir occurs above 
the spruce where the calcareous layers are deeper in the 
soil or on soils within the spruce zone derived from non- 
calcareous parent materials. Elevational range of this unit 
is 5,500-8,000 feet. 

Total acres within ES area - 120,354 



A-110 



Typical overstory composition is 



Spruce 50% 

Douglas-fir 40% 

Subalpine fir 10% 

Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation 

White spruce 

Douglas-fir 

Subalpine fir 

Heartleaf arnica 

Elk sedge 

Common snowberry 

Pinegrass 

Common juniper 

Bluebunch wheatgrass 

Idaho fescue 

Twinf lower 

Grouse whortleberry 

Columbia needlegrass 

Mountain brome 

Richardson needlegrass 

Blue % wildrye 

Bearded wheatgrass 

Mallow ninebark 



Plants that Increase 
w i th Grazing Pressure 

Pinegrass 

Danthonia 

Kentucky bluegrass 

Weedy forbs 

Annuals 

Common snowberry 

Rose 

Mallow ninebark 



30. Rockland and Mixed High Elevation Vegetation. Eleva- 
tional limits are 5,000-11,000 feet, 40-110" P.Z. 

Total acres within ES area - 11,673 



Typical composition is: 

Rockland 
Vegetation 



70% 
30% 



Well formed forest vegetation occurs on deep soils in 
glacial cirque basins included within the unit. Alpine 
vegetation can be found on sloping to steep windswept 
mountains above timberline on deep to moderately deep soils. 
The krummholz occurs in between the forest and alpine on 
windswept areas where trees become stunted and deformed. 
Soils are shallow to deep. Occasionally, this unit includes 
rock outcrop areas well within the general forest zone. 



A-111 



Dominants in the 
Climax Vegetation * 

Subalpine fir 

Whitebark pine 

Limber pine 

Mountain hemlock 

Alpine larch 

Sheep fescue 

Slender wheatgrass 

Bluebunch wheatgrass** 

Alpine bluegrass 

Red mountainheath 

Phlox 

Pussytoes 

Forgetmenot 

Stonecrop 

Groundsel 

Gordon ivesia 

Elphanthead pedicularis 

Moss silene 

White dryad 



*Plants are not listed in order of dominance 
**Below 6,000 feet 



A-112 



APPENDIX 8 
VISUAL RESOURCES 



A-113 



APPENDIX 8 
VISUAL RESOURCES 



The analysis of the visual resources follows the 
guidelines set out by the Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment Visual Resource Management Manual 6310 
and 6320. The inventory methodology can be found 
in Manual 6310 and the analysis of the visual im- 
pacts or contrast can be found in Manual 6320. 

The inventory of the visual resource values is 
composed of four parts: scenery quality, visual sen- 
sitivity, visual zones, and visual resource manage- 
ment classes. Scenery quality, visual sensitivity, 
and visual zones are three components which 
make up the visual resource management classes. 

The Scenery Quality Inventory Chart (Figure 1) 
includes the following key factors which are used to 
determine scenery quality: landform, vegetation, 
color, water, uniqueness, and intrusions. Numerical 
values are assigned for each key factor. These 
values are added and each rating area is placed 
into Scenery Quality Class A, B, or C, in accord- 
ance with the categories shown in the chart. 

A second measurement of the visual resource is 
found in the human or social response values. 
These values are divided into a measurement of 
visual sensitivity and visual zones. 

The visual sensitivity level is an index to the 
relative importance of the social response to the 
visual environment within the area. Areas are rated 
as high, medium, or low. The visual sensitivity level 
analysis was determined by the procedure de- 
scribed in Bureau of Land Management Manual 
6310. These areas were mapped based upon var- 
ious major roadway corridors. 

Each sensitivity criterion was measured against 
all others to determine the relative weighting of the 
criteria (Figure 2). The resultant weighting and sig- 
nificance of each criterion is shown on the Format 
for Determining Sensitivity Levels (Figure 3). The 
sensitivity level is determined by placing the weight- 
ing in the appropriate criteria box and adding the 
numbers in each level. The highest score deter- 
mines the level. 

The first three measurements of visual values 
(scenery quality, visual sensitivity, and visual zones 
as explained in the main text) were converted into 
visual resource management classes by use of the 
matrix shown in the Chart for Determining Visual 
Resource Management Class (Figure 4). 

In the visual impact level determination stage, 
the visual contrast rating is the means used to 
determine the visual impact of the project. It is also 
used to determine if the proposed project meets 



the visual resource management (VRM) objectives 
for its corresponding VRM class. 

The visual contrast created by the proposed 
project can be measured by determining the con- 
trast caused by that activity in each of the basic 
elements composing a landscape (form, line, color, 
texture). The ease of detecting contrast varies on a 
scale from 4 for form; 3 for line; 2 for color; and 1 
for texture. Based on a comparison of the project 
with the existing landscape, numbers are assigned 
that indicate the degree of contrast; 3 for strong, 2 
for moderate, and 1 for weak. A direct multiplier is 
used for an indication of the strength of the con- 
trast. 

The contrast rating is used as a measure of 
whether or not a proposed project meets the objec- 
tives of the appropriate VRM class. The following 
standards were applied to determine if the pro- 
posed projects would meet the VRM objectives as- 
signed to the area. 

Class I. The contrast rating for any one element 
may not exceed 1 (weak), and the total contrast 
rating must be less than 10. 

Class II. The contrast rating for any one element 
should not exceed 2 (moderate), and the total con- 
trast rating may not exceed 1 0. 

Class III. The contrast rating for any one element 
should not exceed 2 (moderate), and the total con- 
trast rating may not exceed 16. 

Class IV. The total contrast rating should not 
exceed 20. 

The criteria used to determine the proposed 
project's visual impact level (see Figure 5) were as 
follows: 

1. If the contrast rating scores met the above re- 
quirement, the visual impact level would be "low." 

2. If the contrast exceeds the requirements for one 
or more element (form, line, color, texture), but not 
for the feature, the visual impact level would be 
"moderate." 

3. If the contrast exceeds both the element and 
feature requirements, the visual impact level would 
be "high." 

The contrast rating can be used in mitigating the 
visual impact, it quickly points out the elements and 
the features that will cause the greatest visual 
impact. This provides a guide to the most effective 
method of reducing the visual impact of the pro- 
posed project. By stipulating mitigating measures 
which will reduce the degree of contrast in the 
elements with the highest contrast rating, the visual 
impact can be lowered most effectively. 



A-114 



Figure 1 

Scenery Quality Inventory Chart 


KEY FACTORS 


RATING CRITERIA AND SCORE 


1 LAND FORM 


Vertical or near vert. 
cal cliffs, spires, highly 
eroded formations, 
massive rock outcrops. 


Steep canyon walls, 
mesas, interesting 
erosional patterns. 
variety in size & shape 
of land forms 2 


Rolling hills, foothills, 
flat valley bottoms 

1 


2 COLOR 


Rich color combina- 
tions variety or vivid 
contrasts in the color 
of soil, rocks, vege- 


Some variety in colors 
and contrast of the 
soil, rocks & vegeta- 
tion, but not dominant 

2 


Subtle color variations, 
little contrast, 
generally muted tones 
Nothing really eye 
catching 1 


3 WATER 


Still, chance for 
reflections or cascad- 
ing white water a 
dominant factor in the 
landscape 4 


Moving and in view or 

Still but not dominant 

2 


Absent, or present but 
1 


4 VEGETATION 


tion in form, texture, 
pattern, and type 4 


Some variation in 
pattern and texture, 
but only one or two 
major types 2 


Little or no variation, 
contrast lacking 

1 


5 UNIQUENESS 


One of a kind or very 
rare within region 

6 


Unusual but similar to 
others within the 
region 

2 


interesting tn its 
setting, but fairly 
common within the 
region 

1 


6 INTRUSIONS 


Free from aesthetically 
undesirable or dis- 
cordant sights and 
influences 

2 


Scenic quality is some- 
what depreciated by 
inharmonious intru- 
sions but no so exten- 
sive that the scenic 
qualities are entirely 
negated 1 


Intrusions are so 
extensive that scenic 
qualities are for the 
most part nullified 

4 


Scenery A = 15-24 
Scenery B = 10-14 
Scenery C = 1-9 

SOURCE BLM Manual 6310,1975 



EXPLANATION OF RATING CRITERIA 



Land Form or topography becomes more interesting 
as it gets steeper and more massive Examples of out- 
standing land forms are found in the Grand Canyon, 
the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Idaho, the Wrangle 
Mountain Range in Alaska, and the Rocky Mountain 
National Park 



Color Consider the overall color of the basic 
components of the landscape (ie. soil, rocks, vege- 
2 tatton, etc ) as they appear during the high-use season 
Key factors to consider in rating "color" are variety, 
contrast, and harmony 



Water is the ingredient which adds movement or 
serenity to a scene The degree to which water 
dominates the scene is the primary consideration in 
selecting the rating score 



Vegetation Give primary consideration to the variety 
4 of patterns, forms, and texture created by the vege- 
tation 



Uniqueness This factor provides an opportunity to 
give added importance to one or all of the scenic 
features that appear to be relatively unique within 
any one physiographic region There may also be 
cases where a separate evaluation of each of the key 
factors does not give a true picture of the overall 
scenic quality of an area Often it is a number of not 
so spectacular elements in the proper combination 
that produces the most pleasing scenery — the 
uniqueness factor can be used to recognize this type 
of area and give it the added emphasis it needs 



Intrusions Consider the impact of man-made 
improvements on the aesthetic quality These 
intrusions can have a positive or negative aesthetic 
impact 



A-115 



Figure 2 

Format For Sensitivity Level 
Criteria Weighting 1/ 




</> 

c 

o 

w 
h- 

■o 

c 
o 

V) 

w 

o 

o 

0) 

6 

3 
O 

> 

m 


o 



«/T 

w 
> 

E 

"o 

w 

<u 

E 

3 

o 
> 

4> 
M 

3 


Use Association (Wild and Scenic 
River) (Wildlife Refuge) 


CO 
0) 

■o 

3 

< 

>. 

'c 

3 

E 

E 
o 
o 


Agricultural / Grazing 
Land Use (Non- BLM) 


Other Agency Use 
and Attitudes 


</> 
Q. 

3 
O 

O 

o 

c 

0> 

E 
c 
o 

w 

'> 
C 

Ul 


Weight 


a 


Adjusted^ 


Use Volume 
Cars and Trains 




^ 


* 


* 


^ 


^ 


* 





I 


Use Volume 
Trails, Rivers, etc. 






-r 


<r 


* 


<r 


<r 


4 


5 


Use Association 

(Wild and Scenic River 

(Wildlife Refuge) 


) 






<- 


<r 


<r 


<- 


6 


7 


Community 
Attitudes 










<r 


<r 


<- 


4 


5 


Agricultural/ 
Grazing Land Use 
(Non-BLM) 












t 


<- 


3 


4 


Other Agency Use 
and Attitudes 














<- 


3 


4 


Environmental 
Groups 
















I 


2 


■ Arrows indicate which of the two values being compared (such as the use 
volume of cars and trains versus the use volume of trails, rivers, etc ) is 
considered more sensitive in the area being rated Based on a comparison 
of each sensitivity criterion against all others, a ranking of the importance 
of all values is obtained 

2|f one or more elements should end up 0, add 1 to all weightings to prevent 
elimination of the criteria 
SOURCE: BLM Manual 6310, 1975 



A-116 



FIGURE 3 
FORMAT FOR DETERMINING SENSITIVITY LEVEL 


CRITERIA& 
WEIGHT 


SENSITIVITY LEVEL 


HIGH USE 


MEDIUM USE 


LOW USE 


Use volume (total use, no 
distinction between types) 
cars and trains 


Segments of travel routes, 
use sites or population 
centers which receive 200,000 
or more visits/yr. or more 
than 200 vehicles/day (ADT 
year round) or comparable 
degree of use on a seasonal 
basis. 




Segments of travel routes, 
use sites or population 
centers which receive 20,000 
to 200,000 visits/yr. or 20 to 
200 vehicles/day (ADT year 
round), or comparable degree 
of use on a seasonal basis. 




Travel route segments with 
less than 20,000 visit/yr. or 
less than 20 vehicle/day. (ADT 
year round) 




Weight 












1 


(2) 

Use volume - trails, rivers, 

water bodies 


20,000 or more visits/yr 




2,000-20,000 visits/yr. 




Less than 2,000 visits/yr. 




Weight 








5 






(3). 

Use association - Upper 

Missouri Wild & Scenic River 


Major 




secondary 




Minor 




Weight 




7 










(4) 

Rural community 

relationships & attitudes 


Protection of the visual 
resource is important 








Protection of the visual 
resource is not important. 




Weight 












5 


(5) 

Agricultural/grazing 
land use (non-BLM) 


Critical 








Not important 




Weight 








4 






(6) 

Other agency use and 

planning attitudes 


Major, national or regional in 
scope 




Secondary sub-region or state 




Minor local 




Weight 




4 










(7) 

Environmental groups 














Weight 












2 


TOTAL 


HIGH USE 


11 


MEDIUM USE 


9 


LOW USE 


8 


INSTRUCTION Check the column that most nearly applies, then add the weight to the column checked The 
column with the highest weighted score indicates the sensitivity level that should be used 

SOURCE BLM MANUAL 6(10 1975 



A-117 



Figure 4 

Chart for Determining Visual Resource 

Management Class 





2 VISUAL SENSITIVITY LEVEL 
HIGH MEDIUM 


LOW 


SPECIAL AREAS 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


SCENERY A 


II 


II 


II 


II 


1 .1 


II 


II 


CLASS B 


II 


III 


IV 


III 


IV 


IV 


IV 


C 


III 


IV 


IV 


IV 


IV 


IV 


IV 




FG 


BG 


SS 


FG 


BG 


SS 


SS 




3 VISUALZONES 



1 SCENERY QUALITY INVENTORY 



A, B,C 



2 VISUAL SENSITIVITY LEVEL 



High 

Medium 

Low 



3 VISUAL ZONES 



FG — Foreground-Middleground 
BG — Background 
SS — Seldom Seen 



NOTE: Class I applies only to classified special areas, e.g., 

Wilderness, Primitive, Natural Areas, etc. This quality 
standard is established through legislation or policy. 

Class V applies to areas identified in the scenery quality 
inventory where the quality class has been reduced 
because of unacceptable intrusions. 

SOURCE: BLM Manual 6310, 1975 



A-118 



Figure 5 



DETERMINATION OF VISUAL IMPACT LEVEL 



PART I 

VRM Management Classes 



PART 2 

Visual Resource Contrast Rating 



IMPACT LEVEL 


o 




I 


n 


nr 


EC 


ELEMENT 


< 2x 


< 3x 


< 3x 


— 


FEATURE 


< 10 


< II 


< 17 


< 21 


UJ 

1- 
< 
or 

UJ 
Q 
O 

2 


ELEMENT 


> 2x 


3x 


3x 




FEATURE 


< 10 


< II 


< 17 




X 

o 

I 


ELEMENT 


> 2x 


3x 


3x 





FEATURE 


> 10 


> II 


> 17 


> 21 



PROJECT 



Fence 
Reservoir 
Well - 



Artesian 

Pump-type (rolling 
plains nverbreaks) 
Pump-type (mountains) 



Spring 

Pipeline (Buried) 



(1/- Maximum Contrast Rating =30) 



CONTRAST 






CONTRAST 


RATING 1/ 


PROJECT 




RATING 


SCORE 






SCORE 


13 


Stock Water Tank 




12 


13 


Cattleguard 




10 


12 


Rainwater Catchment 




22 




Type I3T Fence Crossing 




13 


17 


Contour Furrowing 




16 


16 


Plowing and Seeding 




16 


13 


Sagebrush Spraying 




16 


9 


Roads and Trails - (rollinc 


1 plains 






and river 


breaks) 


14 




(mountains) 


II 




Multiple Pasture Grazing 


Systems 


5 


) 


Salting Stations 




9 



A-119 



APPENDIX 9 
DYNAMIC REGIONAL ANALYSIS MODEL (DYRAM) 



A-121 



DYNAMIC REGIONAL ANALYSIS MODEL (DYRAM) 

DYRAM is an economic model which traces impacts from initial changes in 
income and/or employment for a given industrial sector throughout the 
economy of the study area. More specifically, DYRAM defines the level 
of growth resulting from a change in income and/or employment and 
allocates that growth among sectors and over time periods. It is 
designed to run in conjunction with other components of the socio- 
economic data system (SEDS). 

Following is an abbreviated schematic diagram of DYRAM and other 
related SEDS components. 



MASTER TAPES 

(BASE DATA FOR 

ALL COUNTIES) 



SUBMODEL SORTS 
AND GROUPS BASE 
DATA FOR DESIRED 
COUNTY GROUPING 



ECONOMIC ACTIVITY MODEL 

DEVELOPS INDUSTRIAL 
EARNINGS, IMPORT AND 
EXPORT RELATED EARNINGS 
AND INCOME MULTIPLIERS 



PRINTOUT OF 
DESCRIPTIVE 
STATISTICS 




COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE MODEL 

DEVELOPS INDUSTRIAL 
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE 
INDEXES 



DYRAM 



Aylj 



APj I M 
ANCJ X Ml 



INPUT 
4y< and/orANi. 



WHERE 



y = 

N = 
P = 
x = 
M = 

M = 

I = 

J = 



income 

employment 

population 

export related earnings 

import related earnings 

income multipliers 

1 ,. ... ,16 industries 

1 , ,5 periods 



A-122 



APPENDIX 10 
METHODOLOGY FOR PROJECTING RANGE CONDITION 



A-123 



APPENDIX 10 
METHODOLOGY FOR PROJECTING RANGE CONDITION 



Range condition projections in the ES area for 
the proposed action and alternatives (Table 8-1) by 
the year 2000 were computed by applying the rela- 
tionship shown in Figure 1 to projections for the 
year 2020. The condition class shifts for the years 
2020 and 2000 for the proposed action are shown 
in Table A10-1. Figure 1 gives the projected per- 
centages of rangeland that would be in excellent 
condition by the years 2000 and 2020 for the pro- 
posed action and alternatives. Figure 1 is based on 
the research cited in Chapter 3, Vegetation, past 
experiences with grazing systems, range rehabilita- 
tion projects, familiarity with the ES area, and pro- 
fessional opinion. 

The acreage distribution among the four range 
condition classes by the year 2000 was obtained 
for the proposed action, for example, by first deter- 
mining the number of acres in excellent condition 
by multiplying the total acreage (2,889,981) by 30 
percent as this is the percent of excellent condition 
projected for the year 2000 (Figure 1). Then, by 
assuming the relative percentage distribution of the 
condition class acreage would be the same at the 
year 2000 as it was projected to be by 2020, the 
remaining acreage in the proposed action was dis- 
tributed on the same basis as the 2020 projection. 
The other alternatives were computed in the same 
way. 



A-124 



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A-125 



Figure I 

The projected percentage of range in excellent condition by the years 
2000 and 2020 for the proposed action and alternatives. 



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A-126 



GLOSSARY 



GLOSSARY 



Alluvial. Pertaining to or composed of any sediment deposited by 
flowing water (alluvium), as in a river bed. 

Alluvium. Soil and rock debris deposited by streams. 

Aquifer. A formation, group of formations, or part of a formation 
that contains enough saturated permeable material to yield 
significant quantities of water to wells and springs. 

Artifact. An object made or modified by man, normally for his 
use as tools, shelter, ritual, or defense. 

Aspect. The visual first impression of vegetation at a particular 
time or as seen from a specific point. 

Basin. A closed geologic structure in which the beds dip toward 
a center; the youngest rocks are at the center of a basin 
and are partly or completely ringed by progressively older 
rocks. 

Bedrock. The relatively solid rock that underlies unconsolidated 
sediments or surface materials. 

Bentonite. A clay mineral that possesses the capacity to absorb 
several times its own volume of water; bentonite is used as 
a lining for canals and as a thickening fluid in well drilling, 
among many other things. 

Business Activity. Includes all receipts for a particular economic 
sector (such as the livestock industry). 

Catchment Basin. An artificial water-tight depression that traps 
rain and snowmelt and conveys it by a pipeline to a buried 
storage bag, from which it can be drained through valved 
pipe to stock tanks. 

Compaction. The process of packing firmly and closely together; 
the state of being so packed. 

Contour Furrow. A level furrow cut into a slope to trap rain, 
snow, and surface ruonff to increase soil moisture and 
thereby enhance possible vegetation growth. 

Dendritic. A branching treelike form. 

Direct Business Activity. Receipts, generated only by the eco- 
nomic sector (such as the livestock industry) being referred 
to. 

Drawdown. Lowering of the water table by pumping water from 
wells. 

Edge Effect. Refers to the fact that wildlife populations are 
generally highest in the areas where a variety of habitats 
are available in a relatively small area, that is, where there 
is much edge. 

Ephemeral Stream. A stream that flows only after rains or during 
snowmelt. 

Erosion. The group of natural processes including weathering, 
dissolution, abrasion, corrosion, and transportation by which 
earthy or rocky material is removed from any part of the 
earth's surface. (See Pedestalling, Rill Erosion, and Sheet 
Erosion.) 

Erosion Condition Classes. Expression of current erosion activity 
using the following ratings (Soil Surface Factor): stable, 0- 
20; slight, 21-40; moderate, 41-60; critical, 61-80; severe, 
81-100. 

Evaporation. Loss of water directly from the land surface (or 
water surface) to the atmosphere. 

Evapotranspiration. Loss of water from the soil both by evapora- 
tion and by transpiration from plants during the growing 
season. 

Fault. A fracture surface in rocks, along which movement of rock 
on one side has occurred with reference to rock on the 
other side. 

Food Chain. Refers to the fact that while a given species may 
prey upon a species below it in the "food chain," it in turn 



may be preyed upon by species above it in the food chain. 
Thus, a grasshopper that eats grass may be eaten by a 
masked shrew, that in turn is eaten by a red-tailed hawk. 

Forb. An herb other than grass. 

Formation. A rock unit whose characteristics of grain size, fossil 
content, or other features are relatively uniform and which 
can be mapped. 

Geologic Erosion. Wearing away of the earth's surface by water, 
ice, or other natural elements under natural environmental 
conditions of climate and vegetation. 

Gross Output Multiplier. The ratio which expresses amount of 
dollars generated in indirect business activity for each dollar 
of direct business activity. In this statement, the effect is 
localized to region or state. 

Ground Moraine. Rock material deposited from melting glacial 
ice as an unsorted blanket of debris on the land surface. 

Ground Water. Subsurface water in the saturated zone in rocks. 

Headcutting. The action of surface water undercutting soft sub- 
strata at the head of a gully. The material above falls into 
the gully and is washed away. In this manner, the headcut 
moves upstream. 

Herbicide. An agent (chemical) used to destroy or inhibit plant 
growth. 

Hunting Demand. Demand is the quantity of wildlife that was, or 
is expected to be, harvested by specific numbers of hunters 
under the management in effect. Demand is expressed 
either in quantities of harvestable animals and/or in terms 
of recreation days that would be provided. 

Hunting Supply. The estimated quantity of harvestable wildlife 
that can annually be cropped from a population or unit of 
area under the management in effect. Supply is expressed 
either in quantities of harvestable animals and/or in terms 
of recreation days that would be provided. 

Igneous Rocks. Rocks formed by solidification of molten or fluid 
earth material. Intrusive igneous rocks solidified beneath the 
surface of the earth; extrusive igneous rocks emerged at the 
surface as molten material (e.g., lava) before solidifying. 

Indirect Business Activity. The total income produced in other 
economic sectors (such as retail trade) by the receipt of 
income in one sector (such as the livestock industry). 

Infiltration. The flow of a liquid into a substance through pores or 
other openings; connotes flow into a soil, in contrast with 
percolation, which connotes flow through a porous sub- 
stance. See also Moisture Infiltration. 

Insecticide. A chemical agent used to destroy or control insects. 

Instant Study Area. One of the primitive or natural areas formally 
identified by BLM prior to November 1, 1975. 

Intermittent Stream. A stream which flows most of the time but 
occasionally is dry or reduced to pool stage. 

Intrusive. An igneous rock that formed beneath the earth's sur- 
face. 

Key Species. (1) Forage species whose use serves as an indica- 
tor to the degree of use of associated species. (2) Those 
species which must, because of their importance, be con- 
sidered in the management program. 

Limiting Factor. An environmental condition such as food supply 
or nesting cover which is in short supply. In order for a 
wildlife population to increase, its limiting factor must be 
changed. 

Litter. The uppermost layer of organic debris. It is composed of 
freshly fallen or slightly decomposed organic materials. 

Man Day. One person using the resource for some portion of a 
24-hour day. 

Microclimate. Climatic conditions characteristic of a small area. 
Microclimates are influenced by local geography and vege- 
tation and may be significantly different from regional cli- 



G-1 



mate in temperature, wind, length of growing season, or 
precipitation patterns. 

Mitigation. A method or process by which impacts from actions 
may become less injurious to the environment or the ecol- 
ogy of an area. 

Moisture Infiltration. Water penetration into the soil through 
pores of the soil. Rate and amount of infiltration is limited by 
size and abundance of pores and water absorption capacity 
of the soil. See also Infiltration. 

Off-Road Vehicle. Any motorized vehicle capable of, or designed 
for, travel on or immediately over land, water, or other 
natural terrain. 

Outstanding Natural Area. These are established to preserve 
scenic values and areas of natural wonder. The preserva- 
tion of these resources in their natural condition is the 
primary management objective. 

Outwash. Debris carried from a glacier by running water and 
deposited as a partly to well sorted formation. 

Parent Material. The unconsolidated and more or less chemical- 
ly weathered mineral or organic matter from which soil de- 
velops. 

Peak Discharge. The annual maximum discharge of a stream. 

Percolation, Soil-Water. The downward movement of water 
through soil, especially the downward flow of water in satu- 
rated or nearly saturated soil at hydraulic gradients of the 
order of 1 .0 or less. 

Pedestalling. A phenomenon of erosion where plants or rocks 
are left standing on pedestals of soil. Pedestals are formed 
because a rock or plant has held the soil underneath in 
place. 

Perennial Stream. A stream that flows throughout the year. 

Permeability. Capacity for transmitting a fluid. It is measured by 
the rate at which a fluid of standard viscosity can move 
through material in a given interval of time under a given 
hydraulic gradient. 

Personal Income. The amount of wages paid to a person. This 
does not include profit for those persons who are self- 
employed, only the salaries paid to themselves before profit 
and/or loss is calculated. 

Recharge. In ground water, the process of replenishing the 
water in the zone of saturation or the amount of water that 
percolates to the zone of saturation. 

Relief. The variations in elevation of any area of the earth's 
surface. 

Rill Erosion. Erosion in which numerous small channels of only 
several inches in depth are formed. 

Riparian. Situated on or pertaining to the bank of a river, stream, 
or other body of water. Normally used to refer to the plants 
of all types that grow along streams, around springs, etc. 

Road. An access route which has been improved and main- 
tained by using hand or power machinery or tools to insure 
relatively regular and continuous use. A way maintained 
solely by the passage of vehicles does not constitute a 
road. 

Runoff. Water that flows on the land surface from an area in 
response to rainall or snowmelt. As used in this study, 
runoff from an area becomes streamflow when it reaches 
an intermittent or perennial watercourse. 

Sediment. Soil, rock particles, and organic or other debris car- 
ried from one place to another by wind, water, or gravity; 
also, the material that settles to the bottom of a water body. 

Sedimentary Rock. A more or less compacted and coherent 
rock composed of sedimentary particles. Shale, sandstone, 
and limestone are sedimentary rocks derived respectively 
from mud, sand, and lime sediment. 

Sedimentation. The action or process of deposition of material 
borne by water, wind, or glacier. 

Sediment Yield. The average amount of soil moved from a given 
point to another point as a result of runoff. 

Seepage Loss. Water that moves laterally or downward from a 
stream or pond and may become recharge to soil moisture 
or to ground water. 



Sheet Erosion. The removal of rock or soil from land surface by 
water flowing across the surface. 

Shrub. A low woody plant, usually with several stems; may 
provide food and/or cover for animals. 

Site (Prehistoric or Historic). A place where humans carried on 
some sort of living activity, such as hunting, warfare, or 
residence. 

Soil. The unconsolidated mineral matter on the surface of the 
earth that has been subjected to and influenced by genetic 
and environmental factors of parent material, climate (in- 
cluding moisture and temperature effects), macro-and 
micro-organisms, and topography, all acting over a period of 
time and producing a product that differs from the material 
from which it is derived in many physical, chemical, biologi- 
cal, and morphological properties and characteristics. The 
immediate surface of the earth that serves as a natural 
medium for the growth of land plants. 

Soil Association. A group of defined and named taxonomic soil 
units occurring together in individual and characteristic pat- 
terns over a geographic region. 

Soil Classification. The systematic arrangements of soils into 
classes in one or more categories or levels of classification 
for a specific objective. Broad groupings are made on the 
basis of general characteristics and subdivisions on the 
basis of more detailed differences in specific properties. 

Soil Moisture. Water held in the root zone by capillary action; 
part of the soil moisture is available to plants, part is held 
too tightly by capillary or molecular forces to be removed by 
plants. 

Soil Surface Factor (SSF). The SSF is an expression of current 
erosion activity. Seven categories of surface features are 
considered in the examination of the area. Both wind and 
water are considered for each category. The categories are: 
soil movement, surface litter, surface rock, pedestalling, rills, 
flow patterns, and gullies. Numerical values are assigned to 
each category and are totaled to determine the SSF. This 
value determines the erosion condition class of the area. 
(See also Erosion Condition Classes.) 

Spreader Dike. A low berm or earthen dam on a flood plain, 
designed to convey water back and forth across the flood 
plain and thereby increase soil moisture and reduce flood- 
ing. 

Streamflow. Water moving in stream channels. 

Sublimation. Conversion of snow or ice to water vapor without 
passing through liquid stage. 

Surface Water. Water standing on or moving across the land 
surface; includes streamflow, runoff, and ponded water. 

Syncline. A geologic structure in which formations dip downward 
toward a center line; a down-folded area as contrasted with 
a basin. 

Terrace. A relatively flat surface. In much of the ES area, ter- 
races are underlain by poorly consolidated and permeable 
flood plain deposits. 

Texture. The visual result of the tactile surface characteristics of 
an object(s). 

Till. Glacial debris, either sorted (outwash) or unsorted (ground 
moraine). 

Transpiration. Process by which plants discharge water vapor to 
the atmosphere. 

Watershed. The region draining into a river, river system, or 
body of water. 

Well cuttings. Rock material broken up in well drilling and 
brought to the surface. 

Wilderness Study Area. A roadless area which has been found 
to have wilderness characteristics and which will be subject- 
ed to intensive analysis in the Bureau's planning system 
and public review to determine wilderness suitability, and is 
not yet the subject of a Congressional decision regarding its 
designation as wilderness. 

Winterkill. Refers to the death of fish in small lakes and reser- 
voirs due to oxygen depletion caused by excessive ice and 
snow cover that blocks sunlight and prevents photosynthe- 
sis in aquatic plants. 

Wolf Plant. A plant that, though of a species considered palat- 
able, is not grazed by livestock or wildlife; normally it has 
become rank and excessively fibrous because of a lack of 
previous grazing. 



G-2 



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Toole, K. Ross 1959. Montana: an uncommon land: University of 
Oklahom Press, Norman. 
1972. Twentieth Century Montana: a state of extremes: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 

Trueblood, R. and J. Weigand 1971. Hungarian partridge. In 
Thomas W. Mussehl and F.W. Howell, eds., Game manage- 
ment in Montana: Montana Department of Fish and Game, 
Helena, Montana (238 pp.), pp. 161-165. 

Tschache, Ottley Paul 1970. Effects of ecological changes in- 
duced by various sagebrush control techniques on small 
mammal populations: MS thesis, Montana State University, 
Bozeman, 51 pp. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Reseach Service 
1978. Sediment deposition in U.S. reservoirs, summary of 
data reported through 1975. USDA, Washington, D.C., Feb- 
ruary 1978. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service 1977. National 
forest landscape management, range: v. 2, ch. 3. 
1978. Prairie dog management, final environmental statement. 
Nebraska National Forest, Chadron, Nebraska, 1 87 pp. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service 1973. 
Habitat management for white-tailed deer. SCS, Bozeman, 
Montana 4 pp. 

1976. National range handbook, Washington, D.C. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis 
1977a. Personal income by major sources, 1970-75: Re- 
gional Economics Information System, University of Mon- 
tana, Missoula. 

1977b. Employment by type and broad industrial sources, 
1971-75: Regional Economics Information Systems, Univer- 
sity of Montana, Missoula. 
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1 960 census of the population. 

1970. 1970 census of the population. 

1972. 1972 census of retail trade, vol. II, area statistics. 

1 974. 1 974 census of agriculture. 



U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management 
1971. Musselshell River area classification of public domain. 
Missouri River Basin Studies. Denver, Colorado. 
1972. The Big Dry Creek Montana pumping area. Classifica- 
tion of public domain. Missouri River Basin Studies, Denver, 
Colorado. 

1974. Programmatic environmental analysis record, range de- 
velopment facilities, Malta District. 

1975. Environmental analysis record, water development pro- 
gram, Miles City District. 

1977b. Final San Luis Resource Area grazing management 

environmental statement, variously paged. 
1 977c. Draft Uncompahgre Basin Resource Area grazing envi- 
ronmental statement, variously paged. 
1978. Wilderness inventory handbook, 30 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service 1974. 
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Range Wilderness Pro- 
posal: preliminary map. 

U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey 1977. Water 
resources data for Montana, water year 1976, prepared in 
cooperation with the state of Montana and with other agen- 
cies: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report MT-76-1, 
766 pp. 

Valentine, K. A. 1 947. Effect of water-retaining and water-spread- 
ing structures in revegetating semi-desert rangeland: New 
Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 341, 22 pp. 

Wagner, Frederic H. 1976. Effects of livestock grazing and the 
livestock industry: Wildlife and America symposium, Council 
on Environmental Quality, Washington, D.C, September 30- 
October 2, 1 976, 62 pp. 

Walcheck, Ken 1978. Whitetail: the common deer of our country: 
Montana Outdoors, v. 9, no. 4, pp. 1 5-22. 
1970. Nesting bird ecology of four plant communities in the 
Missouri River Breaks, Montana: Wilson Bulletin, v. 82, no. 
1, pp. 370-382. 

Wallestad, Richard 1975. Life history and habitat requirements of 
sage grouse in central Montana: Montana Department of 
Fish and Game in cooperation with U.S. Department of the 
Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 66 pp. 

Watson, T.J., Jr. 1976. An evaluation of potentially threatened or 
endangered species from the Montana flora: Consultant 
report, available for inspection at U.S. Forest Service Re- 
gional Office, Missoula, Montana, 23 pp. 

Weaver, H.E. and H.W. Rowland 1952. Effects of excessive 
natural mulch on development, yield, and structure of native 
grassland: Botanical Gazette, v. 144, pp. 1-19. 

Wedel, Waldo R. 1961. Prehistoric man on the Great Plains: 
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 

Weigand, John P. and Reuel G. Janson 1976. Montana's ring- 
necked pheasant: history, ecology, and management: Mon- 
tana Department of Fish and Game, Helena, 178 pp. 

Whitfield, C.J. and C.L. Fly 1939. Vegetational changes as a 
result of furrowing pasture and rangelands: Journal of 
American Society Agronomists, v. 31, pp. 413-417. 

Wight, J. Ross and F.H. Siddoway 1972. Improving precipitation- 
use efficiency on rangeland by surface modification: Journal 
of Soil and Water Conservation, v. 27, no. 4. 

Wight, J. Ross, E.L. Neff and R.J. Soiseth 1978. Vegetation 
response to contour furrowing. Journal of Range Manage- 
ment, v. 31, no. 2, pp. 97-101. 

Willard E. Earl and Lynn Herman 1977. Influence of grazing by 
various systems on vegetation and soils in the Missouri 
River Breaks area, Montana: University of Montana, Mis- 
soula, unpublished. 

Wormington, H.M. and Richard G. Forbis 1965. An introduction 
to the archaeology of Alberta, Canada: Proceedings no. 11, 
Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colorado. 

Yoakum, James D. 1 977. Managing rangelands for the American 
pronghorn antelope: Interstate antelope conference transac- 
tions, 14 pp. 

<t U S GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1979—697-450 



R-4 



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4841 — Allotment Management Plan Identification Number 



ALLOTMENT 
MANAGEMENT PLANS 



Bureau of Land Management 

Library 

Denver Service Center 




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LANDFORMS 
I I Mountains 



High Plains 
Riverbreaks 
I J Rolling Plains 



LANDFORM AREAS 



Library 
Denver Serv.ce Center 



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