On June 24, an order dismissing pending appeals to the BLM’s 2014 closure decision on the Argenta Allotment in the Battle Mountain District was approved by Administrative Law Judge James Heffernan. The order allows a settlement agreement between ranchers and the BLM to take effect and cattle to be released back onto the range.

The agreement, which allows grazing on the Argenta allotment with specific conditions to prevent overgrazing around springs and streams, was the result of three and a half months of collaborative discussions between the BLM’s Battle Mountain District Staff, the National Riparian Services Team, the Argenta permittees and Western Watersheds Project.

“The goal from the beginning was to replace the temporary closure due to drought with a drought management plan that allows grazing while protecting the resources on the range,” said Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado.

Key elements of the agreement include: a three year trial period focused on adaptive management to respond to site specific conditions; development of a stockmanship plan focused on the use of riding and supplement use to meet riparian and upland use levels; increased attention to monitoring before, during and after seasons of use; and a commitment by BLM to complete the permit renewal process within three years based on information gained from the adaptive management trial period.

“This agreement shows the commitment the BLM has to maintaining our multiple-use mandate while protecting resources to fulfill the sustained yield portion of our mission,” said Acting State Director John Ruhs. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners on sustainable grazing on the Argenta allotment this season and into the future.”