When President Clinton established the Sonoran Desert National Monument in 2001, the proclamation was explicit about how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should manage livestock: Parts of the monument would be permanently closed to livestock, and grazing should not be permitted in the remaining areas unless the agency could demonstrate that grazing was compatible with resource protection.
In 2007, the Monument Manager determined that livestock grazing was incompatible with protecting the scenic, recreational, and wildlife resources of the monument, but in 2012 the BLM approved a Resource Management Plan that allowed grazing to continue in sensitive areas of the monument. WWP and the Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter, represented by Advocates for the West, sued the BLM in 2013 over their unwise decision to put cows in the desert, and we won. The court ordered them to reconsider their bad plan to continue grazing on some parts of the monument.
Now, unfortunately, it seems the BLM’s “reconsideration” has led them once again to try to expand livestock grazing on these arid lands instead of doing their job and protecting the Monument by announcing a scoping period for a new plan. It’s irresponsible, unscientific, and unlawful.
You can help support healthy, livestock-free desert ecosystems by submitting comments by April 27, 2020.
Contact the BLM and let them know that livestock don’t belong in the Sonoran Desert National Monument and that you expect the agency to prioritize the protection of wildlife – like the Sonoran desert tortoise and Sonoran pronghorn – over livestock industry profits.
The desert is just beginning to recover from over a century of livestock grazing industry abuses and the land must be allowed to continue to heal. The Monument, located on the ancestral lands of the O’Odham, Yavapai Apache, Cocopah, and Hohokam people, is treasured for its cultural resources, and these should be protected from grazing abuses.
Let BLM know that livestock grazing is not compatible with protecting:
- Functioning desert ecosystems;
- Diversity of plant and animal species;
- Saguaro cactus forest;
- Scientific analysis of plant species and climates in past eras;
- Vegetation communities;
- Wildlife; and
- Archeological and historic sites.
You can email your thoughts, recommendations, and comments to BLM_AZ_PDO_SDNMGrazing@blm.gov or submit them online here. Tell the BLM that only Alternative B, the “No Grazing” alternative, complies with the BLM’s requirements to protect the natural resources found in the monument.
Let them know that in light of ongoing drought and climate change impacts, eliminating grazing from the entire monument is the only responsible and legal choice.
Your voice matters! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.