Terrestrial Monitoring Design focused on Land Use Plan Effectiveness: West Desert District Example





Study Area and Reporting Units

  • These are documented in Step 2 in the Monitoring Design Worksheet: Set the study area and reporting units; develop monitoring objectives
  • The study area is all BLM lands within the West Desert District.
  • The reporting units are the Salt Lake and Fillmore Field Offices (Land Use Plan areas) as well as sage grouse habitat areas within them: Priority Habitat Management Areas, General Habitat Management Areas, Box Elder Sagebrush Focal Area, Rich Sagebrush Focal Area, and the Sheeprocks Greater Sage Grouse Population Area.





Design  — Five Years

  • After the study area was stratified, the NOC and Jornada drew points for each strata from the Master Sample.
  • West Desert District followed the standard sample design recommendation to do a five year design. New points are visited each year for 5 years, enabling coverage of a broad area of the landscape. Revisits of a large portion of the sites will begin in Year 6.
  • The overall number of points was determined by capacity to complete monitoring yearly. On average, a field crew with 3 members is able to sample 50 points per season. In this example, an estimated 100 points will be collected based on available resources (2 crews). At the end of 5 years, this sample design will have 500 points (100 points per year x 5 years)
  • The number of points in each strata was influenced by area as well as management questions. Draft points were initially drawn proportional to the area of each stratum. Based on management questions related to sage grouse habitat, the design was revised so that sagebrush strata had a higher level of effort (more points) than piñon-juniper strata.

Design – Year 1

  • This is Year 1 of the five-year design. This represents monitoring work to be accomplished in 2016 by 2 crews.
  • Information is collected across the study area every year to reduce temporal variability.




  • When sample designs are created, a certain number of “oversample” points are drawn at the same time.
  • Oversample points are monitored in instances where points are rejected.
  • Not all selected sample points (i.e., base points) will be able to be sampled because they are either inaccessible or they do not meet the project’s definition of the target population; therefore, we select a large number of replacement points (i.e., oversample points) (see rejection criteria).




  • After the Year 1 AIM points were reviewed, the ID team determined that more points were required in several sage grouse habitat areas in order to satisfy immediate reporting needs.
  • Points were “borrowed” from later years of the design (Years 2-5) in order to provide additional points in 2016. Those points will also be revisited in the year that they were pulled from.
  • If there had not been enough points in the 5-year design, the web-based Shiny sample design tool would be used to draw additional points.

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