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Annual Grazing Use Monitoring

Forest Plan Monitoring Field Trip
Spearfish / Nemo Ranger District
Blackhills National Forest

The monitoring methodology is explained to the public. Members of the Public and Forest Service employees evaluated annual grazing use in upland and wetland habitats following Forest Plan standards for forage utilization. Three monitoring techniques were utilized: landscape appearance, stubble height, and stream bank alteration.

The forest has recently prepared a rangeland monitoring guide for use of the Black Hills National Forest. The guide provides grazing permittees and other interested parties with the information and materials needed to collect important basic rangeland monitoring information. Forest Supervisor John Twiss said that permittees, forest users and other interested parties are an important part of the on-going Forest Plan monitoring program.

Terry Padilla, Forest Range Staff, provided training to the public. Through the summer, the Black Hills National Forest hosted eight field trips that let people assist forest managers with monitoring the condition of forest resources and the impacts of management activities. Terry Padilla (shown) and Steve Smith of the Blackhills National Forest Range Staff, provided training to the public.

Landscape Appearance: This is a very basic technique for assessing general forage utilization levels in upland areas. This method provides a reasonably accurate estimate of forage use over large areas with few observers.

Stubble Height: This method is used if the monitoring plan has established stubble height standards for a particular plant community. This method is becoming a well accepted method for expressing grazing use and is very simple to collect.

Picture of parent and children participating in the monitoring training. All ages participated in the monitoring training.

Streambank Alteration: This method is used to determine the degree of annual streambank trampling by livestock along a given stream reach. Excessive physical alteration of streambanks by livestock trampling can result in the widening of the stream channel and the eventual loss of riparian function.

US Forest Service, RGE
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop Code: 1103
Washington DC 20250-1103

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Last modified: Tuesday, 13-Sep-2016 11:38:13 CDT