Rangeland Management:

Assessment of Nevada Consulting Firm's Critique of Three GAO Reports

RCED-92-178R: Published: May 4, 1992. Publicly Released: May 4, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO responded to a consultant's critique of three GAO reports concerning the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) and the Forest Service's management of western public rangelands. GAO noted that, contrary to the consultant's criticisms, the GAO report on: (1) livestock overgrazing presented a balanced and comprehensive picture of rangeland conditions and trends, based on almost 800 questionnaire responses regarding grazing allotments and land conditions; (2) riparian area restoration did not overstate the magnitude of restoration needs or inappropriately focus on livestock grazing as the primary cause of damage to riparian areas; and (3) the federal wild horse program included substantial discussion of management problems associated with such program elements as the wild horse adoption program, sanctuary operations, and halter training. GAO also noted that: (1) BLM and the Service both accepted the GAO conclusions and are acting on the recommendations; (2) it employed proven evaluation methodologies, assessed performance against applicable laws, assigned experienced, trained staff to the reviews, subjected report drafts to rigorous internal control review procedures, and held exit conferences with BLM and the Service and obtained written comments regarding its reports; and (3) the consultant's critique included little factual data to substantiate its assertions.

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