Rangeland Management:

BLM Efforts to Prevent Unauthorized Livestock Grazing Need Strengthening

RCED-91-17: Published: Dec 7, 1990. Publicly Released: Jan 8, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) efforts to detect and deter unauthorized livestock grazing on public rangelands.

GAO found that BLM: (1) did not know the full extent of grazing trespass on its allotments, although such violations occurred frequently; (2) identified staffing shortfalls as a major obstacle in conducting a more effective trespass detection program; (3) had no systematic approach for detecting grazing trespass; (4) processed most trespass incidents informally and without penalties; (5) failed to assess required penalties in the most serious trespass cases; (6) did not have an adequate management information system to provide top management with comprehensive data about the effectiveness of trespass enforcement by field offices; and (7) failed to adequately document trespass case files.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On April 21, 1997, BLM officially withdrew its proposed law enforcement regulations which would have modified its "Unauthorized Grazing Use Handbook" (H-4150-1) and Instruction memo 91-324 to ensure that field staff impose the penalties that are required.

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM grazing trespass detection and deterrence efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, BLM, to ensure that field staff impose the penalties required under BLM regulations for willful and repeated willful grazing trespass.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On April 21, 1997, BLM officially withdrew its proposed law enforcement regulation which would have modified its "Unauthorized Grazing Use Handbook" (H-4150-1) and Instruction memo 91-324 for handling and documenting all trespasses, both willful and nonwillful.

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM grazing trespass detection and deterrence efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, BLM, to require that all trespass incidents including those now handled informally be documented and made part of the permanent trespass file.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On April 21, 1997, BLM officially withdrew its proposed law enforcement regulations which would have modified its regulations for more reasonable and cost-effective resolution of nonwillful trespass.

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM grazing trespass detection and deterrence efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, BLM, to either: (1) ensure that penalties are assessed for all nonwillful trespass violations as provided for in BLM regulations; or (2) amend BLM regulations to establish a procedure for the informal resolution of nonwillful trespass violations at the local level.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BLM Instruction Memo 91-324 establishes work-load measures for compliance inspections and trespass cases settled. It also instructs managers to target allotments with unauthorized use histories and to randomly select other allotments for compliance inspections.

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM grazing trespass detection and deterrence efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, BLM, to develop a grazing trespass detection strategy that will: (1) establish detection as a work-load measure and a reportable accomplishment for which managers are held accountable; (2) use visits to randomly selected allotments to provide systematic compliance coverage; and (3) target additional follow-up visits for those livestock operators who have a history of repeated violations.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: On April 21, 1997, BLM officially withdrew its proposed law enforcement regulations which would have modified its "Unauthorized Grazing Use Handbook" (H-4150-1) and Instruction memo 91-324.

    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM grazing trespass detection and deterrence efforts, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, BLM, to develop a management information system to provide timely, reliable, and adequate information on such things as: (1) the number of compliance visits conducted; (2) the number and level of violations identified; and (3) how each violation is resolved, including those resolved informally.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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