Public Rangelands Continue To Deteriorate

CED-77-88: Published: Jul 5, 1977. Publicly Released: Jul 5, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Nation's public rangelands have been deteriorating for years.

Deterioration of public rangelands can be attributed principally to poorly managed livestock grazing. Livestock have been permitted to graze on public rangelands year after year without adequate regard to the detrimental effect on range vegetation. Efforts to protect the wildlife habitat and watershed of the rangelands are also lagging. Although the Bureau of Land Management is generally aware of many current problems and their causes, it has not acted effectively to solve or significantly minimize them. Bureau field managers have not acted effectively to reduce the destructive form of grazing used because they believe that such a measure would adversely affect the financial condition of the livestock operators who are using the public rangelands. The Bureau has rarely penalized operators who violate grazing regulations by suspending, reducing, or revoking their grazing privileges, although it is authorized to do so.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: To minimize further damage to rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management should be sure that existing land management plans meet current needs; discontinue destructive continuous grazing on lands; seek assistance from livestock operators in providing essential range improvement facilities; and keep Congress informed about its actions to improve range conditions and the adverse effects of insufficient staffing through the annual report, as required by law.


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »