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This page was last updated on January 06, 2009 .

One Million AUMs Misplaced
by: Larry Walker, 7/4/97

The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) has misplaced about one million AUMs of livestock use in its Eastside and Upper Columbia River Basin (UCRB) Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS), and the companion Integrated Scientific Assessment for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia Basin.

The trail can begin on page 56 of the assessment where ICBEMP states that "There are 2.9 million Federal AUMs in the Basin". The proportions for these AUMs are given as: 35% Forest Service (FS) upper Basin, 10% FS lower Basin, 38% Bureau of Land Management (BLM) upper Basin, and 16% BLM lower Basin.  This would be about 1,015,000 AUMs FS upper, 290,000 FS lower, 1,102,000 BLM upper, and 464,000 BLM lower.

Let's now look at the UCRB DEIS. Table 4-50 (chapter 4, page 168) shows 1,909,615 AUMs under Alternative 1 (the no change alternative). This is over 200,000 AUMs less than the assessment figure of about 2,117,000 for the upper Basin. Forest Service figures are not very easy to come by, but BLM figures are readily available in the official annual publication Public Land Statistics. That document shows that in 1993 (the base year used by ICBEMP), BLM recognized 1,364,457 AUMs of active preference in Idaho alone. The UCRB area also includes over 2 million acres in portions of Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming as shown in Table 1-1 (chapter 1, page 5). Prorating the AUMs and acres from Public Land Statistics for these states by the Table 1-1 acres yields an estimate of an additional 135,155 AUMs, for an upper basin total of 1,498,612 BLM AUMs.

The Eastside DEIS which covers the lower basin says (chapter 2, page 177) that there are 463,000 BLM AUMs and 293,000 FS AUMs in Oregon and Washington. Again using our handy-dandy Public Land Statistics for 1993, we find a lower basin total of 1,074,304 BLM AUMs.

This gives a basin total BLM active preference of 2,572,916 AUMs compared with the 1,566,000 BLM AUMs indicated in the assessment.

With this magnitude of discrepancy, some questions beg to be asked:

How valid are the figures given for Forest Service AUMs? How valid are other figures throughout the DEISs? Was the artificially low AUM figure for Oregon BLM the reason for tacking most of eastern Oregon on to the "range cluster 6" sacrifice zone? How much credance can be given to the budget estimates provided? To what extent were the various forms of analysis affected?