Field office management objectives are presented in the State Land Health Standards (LHS), Resource Management Plan and the Sage Grouse RMP Amendment. All highlight the importance of healthy ecosystems, including vegetation, soil, water, and wildlife. In addition, RMP goals highlight the importance of monitoring for improving understanding of ecosystem functioning and carrying out adaptive management.
The following represents a synthesis of ecosystem management objectives from the LHS, RMP, and Sage Grouse Plan Amendment (Table 1):
- “Upland” soils exhibit infiltration and permeability rates appropriate for the soil type, climate, landform, and geologic processes. Adequate soil infiltration and permeability allows for the accumulation of soil moisture necessary for optimal plant growth and vigor and minimizes surface runoff. (LHS#1; RMP)
- Riparian systems function properly and have the ability to recover from major disturbance such as fire, severe grazing, or 100-year floods. Riparian vegetation captures sediment and provides forage, habitat, and biodiversity. Water quality is improved or maintained. Stable soils store and release water slowly. (LHS#2; RMP; Sage Grouse Plan Amendment)
- Healthy, productive plant and animal communities of native and other desirable species are maintained at viable population levels commensurate with the species and the habitat’s potential. Plants and animals at both the community and population level are productive, resilient, diverse, vigorous, and able to reproduce and sustain natural fluctuations and ecological processes. (LHS#3; RMP)
- Emphasis on sagebrush biome (RMP; LHS#4; Sage Grouse Plan Amendment)
- Special status, threatened, and endangered species (federal and State), and other plants and animals officially designated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their habitats are maintained or enhanced by sustaining healthy, native plant and animal communities. (LHS#4)
- Emphasis on greater sage grouse (RMP; Sage Grouse Plan Amendment)
- The water quality of streams and rivers located on or influenced by BLM lands will achieve or exceed state water quality standards. Water quality standards include the designated beneficial uses, numeric criteria, narrative criteria, and anti-degradation requirements set forth under State law as found in section 5 of the Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) 1002-8, and as required by Section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act. (LHS#5; RMP)
The BLM terrestrial and aquatic core indicators (TN440; TR 1735-1) are relevant to all of the above objectives (e.g., Table 1). In addition to these, from a terrestrial perspective the BLM should monitor tree density because of the threat of juniper encroachment to sage grouse populations and habitat in the area and the emphasis on forested vegetation types in the RMP. Information about populations of T&E species is also necessary but should be gained through partnership with the state wildlife agency.