Examples of AIM data in use

Decision-makers use AIM information to improve management of many different areas.  These include environmental assessments for grazing permit authorizations within field offices, wildlife habitat assessments that may cross administrative boundaries, and all the way up to informing Congress of the status of the public lands in the US. How you use your data depends on management goals and the monitoring objectives that you identified in your Monitoring Design Worksheet (see the Helpful Documents and Links at the bottom of the Design page).

Below are several examples of how AIM data has been used for different areas and purposes. Each example had clear management goals and quantitative monitoring objectives that were able to be interpreted in order to make sound management decisions.  You can also browse recorded presentations of many of these examples in the 2018 AIM Symposium recordings from the Society for Range Management meeting.

Local:

Treatment Effectiveness
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Two types of monitoring of vegetation treatments are pursued by the BLM. One type is implementation monitoring which answers the question, “Did we do what we said we would do?”  The second is effectiveness monitoring which answers the question, “Were treatment and restoration projects effective?” While implementation monitoring is done at the land use plan level, effectiveness monitoring is done at the local project implementation level.  AIM is a powerful tool for treatment effectiveness monitoring.  For example, measuring ecosystem response to post-fire vegetation treatments allows the BLM to understand the consequences of management actions and to share this knowledge in a scientifically sound manner. Monitoring is the critical feedback loop that allows land managers to constantly improve land rehabilitation and restoration plans based on the new knowledge gained from field measurements.

Examples:

Post-fire treatment effectiveness monitoring using AIM — this SRM 2018 recorded presentation updates this example!

Stream reclamation effectiveness following placer mining

Grazing Authorization Renewal
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A key question for renewing grazing permits is whether the condition of the allotment meets management objectives, such as Land Health Standards.  AIM core indicator data can be used along with other data to address this question.  Additional information may also be needed, such as use-based monitoring, or condition monitoring for a specific area of the allotment (such as special status species habitat).

Examples:

Curtis Spring Grazing Permit Renewal — Factsheet and NEPA Documents and SRM 2018 recorded presentation

Three Creeks Land Health Assessment and Evaluation — also see this SRM 2018 recorded presentation

Many more — contact Emily Kachergis (ekachergis@blm.gov)

Regional:

Greater sage-grouse Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF)
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BLM’s management of Greater sage-grouse habitats requires information across large populations as well as in specific habitat types.  Working with the NRCS, the BLM has increased the sampling density of the Landscape Monitoring Framework that utilizes the AIM terrestrial core indicators across the range of the Greater sage-grouse to increase our understanding of the status and condition of these habitats. Importantly, data collection is being driven by sage-grouse management questions, but these data are not limited to sage-grouse applications in the future. These same data can be used for other wildlife habitat questions and also for recreation, grazing, and reclamation success.  AIM terrestrial core indicator data is also being collected to complete the Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) and inform local decision-making.

Examples:

Site-scale habitat assessment example from Lakeview, OR — also see this SRM 2018 recorded presentation

Land Use Plan Effectiveness
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Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed in accordance with the intent of Congress as stated in Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. As required by FLPMA and BLM policy, the public lands must be managed in a manner that “protects the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archaeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use; and that recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands by encouraging collaboration and public participation throughout the planning process” (Land Use Planning Handbook). Land use plans are one of the primary mechanisms for guiding BLM activities to achieve our mission and goals.  AIM terrestrial and aquatics core indicators provide information about many land use plan objectives and thus whether land use plans are effective.

Examples:

Land Use Plan Effectiveness Monitoring for Utah Rivers and Streams

Monitoring to Assess Attainment of Land Health Standards related to Water Quality in the Green River District, Utah

National:

Rangeland Resource Assessment/Western Rivers and Streams Assessment
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Due to the cross-program, cross-ecosystem relevance of AIM core indicators and methods, AIM is a useful tool for nationwide monitoring efforts. The public lands are facing increasingly complex and widespread environmental challenges that transcend traditional management boundaries. These challenges include managing wildfire; controlling weeds and insect outbreaks; providing for energy development and urban growth; and addressing pervasive impacts from the effects of climate change.  In partnership with other agencies including the NRCS and EPA, AIM is providing information to better address these challenges.  

Examples:

BLM 2011 Rangeland Resource Assessment

Western Rivers and Streams Assessment factsheet

NRCS National Resources Inventory – please see this 2015 SRM presentation for further information

Other Efforts:

AIM Symposia at SRM annual meeting 2015 + 2018
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Two full-day AIM symposia have occurred during the annual meeting of the Society for Range Management, in 2015 and 2018.  Monitoring leads and partners spoke about their AIM efforts and how it informs management decisions.  Topics also included underpinning concepts of AIM such as maintaining information quality and integration with remote sension. You can view the recordings of the 2018 presentations here and view the recordings of the 2015 presentations here.

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