< Back to H.R. 10587 (95th Congress, 1977–1978)

Text of the Public Range Lands Improvement Act

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on October 25, 1978. The text of the bill below is as of Oct 25, 1978 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).

PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978                          92 STAT. 1803

Public Law 95-514
95th Congress
                               An Act
             To improve the range conditions of the public rangelands.      Oct. 25, 1978
                                                                             [H.R. 10587]
  Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,                            Public
   SECTION 1. That this Act may be cited as the "Public Eangelands Rangelands
Improvement Act of 1978".                                                  Improvement Act
                                                                           of 1978.
                   r i N D I N G S AND DECLARATION OF POLICY               43 use 1901
                                                                           note.
  SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds and declares that—                        43 use 1901.
         (1) vast segments of the public rangelands are producing less
     than their potential for livestock, wildlife habitat, recreation,
     forage, and water and soil conservation benefits, and for that rea-
     son are in an unsatisfactory condition;
         (2) such rangelands will remain in an unsatisfactory condition
     and some areas may decline further under present levels of, and
     funding for, management;
         (3) unsatisfactory conditions on public rangelands present a
     high risk of soil loss, desertification, and a resultant underproduc-
     tivity for large acreages of the public lands; contribute signifi-
     cantly to unacceptable levels of siltation and salinity in major
     western watersheds including the Colorado River; negatively
     impact the quality and availability of scarce western water sup-
      plies ; threaten important and frequently critical fish and wildlife
      habitat; prevent expansion of the forage resource and result-
     ing benefits to livestock and wildlife production; increase surface
     runoff and flood danger; reduce the value of such lands for rec-
      reational and esthetic purposes; and may ultimately lead to unpre-
      dictable and undesirable long-term local and regional climatic
      and economic changes;
         (4) the above-mentioned conditions can be addressed and cor-
     rected by an intensive public rangelands maintenance, manage-
     ment, and improvement program involving significant increases
     in levels of rangeland management and improvement funding for
     multiple-use values;
         (5) to prevent economic disruption and harm to the western
      livestock industry, it is in the public interest to charge a fee for
      livestock grazing permits and leases on the public lands which
      is based on a formula reflecting annual changes in the costs of
     production:
         (6) the Act of December 15, 1971 (85 Stat. 649, If) U.S.C. 1331
      et seq.), continues to be successful in its goal of protecting wild
      free-roaming horses and burros from capture, branding, harrass-
      ment, and death, but that certain amendments are necessary thereto
      to avoid excessive costs in the administration of the Act, and to
      facilitate the humane adoption or disposal of excess wild free-
      roaming horses and burros which because they exceed the carrying
      capacity of the range, pose a threat to their own habitat, fish,
      wildlife, recreation, water and soil conservation, domestic live-
      stock grazing, and other rangeland values;
    (b) The Congress therefore hereby establishes and reaffirms a
 national policy and commitment to:
          (1) inventory and identify current public rangelands conditions
       and trends as a part of the inventory process required by section
       2011'a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
       (43 U.S.C. 1711);

92 STAT. 1804 PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 2 5 , 1978 (2) manage, maintain and improve the condition of the public rangelands so that they become as productive as feasible for all rangeland values in accordance with management objectives and the land use planning process established pursuant to section 202 , of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (48 U.S.C^. (3) charge a fee for public grazing use which is equitable and reflects the concerns addressed in p a r a g r a p h (a) (5) above; (4) continue the policy of protecting wild free-roaming horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment, or death, while ' ' : at the same time facilitating the removal and disposal of excess wild free-roaming horses and burros which pose a threat to them- selves and their habitat and to other rangeland values; (c) T h e policies of this Act shall become effective only as specific statutory authority for their implementation is enacted by this Act or by subsequent legislation, and shall be construed as supplemental to and not in derogation of the purposes for which public rangelands are administered under other provisions of law. Definitions. S K C 8. As used in this Act— 43 u s e 1902. (a) The terms "rangelands" or "public rangelands" means lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management or the Secretary of Agriculture through the Forest Service in the sixteen contiguous Western States on which there is domestic livestock grazing or which the Secretary concerned deter- mines may be suitable for domestic livestock grazing. (b) The term "allotment management p l a n " is the same as defined in section 103 (k) of the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702 ( k ) ) , except that as used in this Act such term applies to the sixteen contiguous Western States. (c) The term "grazing permit and lease" means any document authorizing use of public lands or lands in national forests in the sixteen contiguous Western States for the purpose of grazing domestic livestock. (d) The term "range condition" means the quality of the land reflected in its ability in specific vegetative areas to support various levels of productiAnty in accordance Avith range management objectives and the land use planning process, and relates to soil quality, forage values (whether seasonal or year r o u n d ) , wildlife habitat, watershed and plant communities, the present state of vegetation of a range site in relation to the potential plant community for t h a t site, and t h e relative degree to which the kinds, proportions, and amounts of vege- tation in a p l a n t community resemble t h a t of the desired community for that site. (e) The term "native vegetation" means those plant species, com- nnmities, or vegetative associations which are endemic to a given area and which would normally be identified with a healthy and productive T-ange condition occurring as a result of the natural vegetative process of the area. (f) The term "range improvement" means any activity or program on or relating to rangelands which is designed to improve production of forage; change vegetative composition; control patterns of use; provide w a t e r : stabilize soil and water conditions; and provide h a b i t a t for livestock and wildlife. The term includes, but is not limited to.
PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 92 STAT. 1805 structures, treatment projects, and use of mechanical means to accomp- lish the desired results. (g) The term "court ordered environmental impact statement" means any environmental statements which are required to be prepared by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the tinal judgment or subse(][ueiit modification theivof as set forth on Jmie IcS, 1975, in the matter of Natural Resources Defense Council against A n d r u s . (h) T h e term "Secretary" unless specifically designated otherwise, means the Secretary of the Interior. (i) The term "sixteen contiguous AVestern States" means the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, I d a h o , Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, NOAV ]\Iexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. RANGELANDS IXVENTORY AND MANAGEMENT SEC. 4. (a) Following enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the 43 USC 1903. Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall update, develop (where necessary) and maintain on a continuing basis thereafter, an inventory of range conditions and record of trends of range conditions on the public rangelands. and shall categorize or identify such lands on the basis of the range conditions and trends thereof as they deem appropriate. Such inventories shall be conducted and maintained by the Secretary as a p a r t of the inventory process required by section 201(a) of the Federal L a n d Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1711). and by the Secretary of Agriculture in accordance with section 5 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources P l a n n i n g Act of 1974 (16 ILS.C. 1608) ; shall be kept current on a regular basis so as to reflect changes in range conditions; and shall be available to the Public public. availability. (b) The Secretary shall manage the public rangelands in accordance with the Tavlor Grazing Act (43 U.S.C. 315-315 ( o ) ) , the Federal Land Policy "and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701-1782), and other applicable law consistent with the public rangelands improve- uient program pursuant to this Act. Except where the land use plan- ,«^ < ; , ning process required pursuant to section 202 of the Federal L a n d Policy and INIanagement Act (43 U.S.C. 1712) determines otherwise or the Secretary determines, and sets forth his reasons for this deter- mination, that grazing uses should be discontinued (either temporarily .* or permanently) on certain lands, the goal of such management shall be to improve the range conditions of the public rangelands so that they l>ecome as productive as feasible in accordance with the range- land manageuient objectives established through the land use planning process, and consistent with the values and objectives listed in sections 2 (a) and ( b ) ( 2 ) of this Act. RANGE IMPROVEMENT FUNDING SEC. 5. (a) I n order to accomplish the purposes of this Act, thei-e Appropriation are herebv authorized to be appropriated the sum of an additional authorization. $15,000,000 annually in fiscal years 1980 through 1982; for fiscal years 43 USC 1904. 1983 tlirough 1986 an amount no less than the amount authorized for 1982; and for fiscal years 1987 through 1999 an amount not less than $5,000,000 annually more than the amount authorized for fiscal year 1986. Such funds shall be in addition to any range, Avildlife, and soil and water management moneys which have been requested by the
92 STAT. 1806 PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 Secretary under the provisions of section 318 of the Federal Land 43 use 1748. Policy and Management Act, and in addition to the moneys which are available for range improvements under section 401 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1751). (b) Aaiy amounts authorized by this section not appropriated in one or more fiscal years shall be available for appropi-iation in any subse- quent years. (c) No less than 80 per centum of such funds provided herein shall be used for on-the-ground range rehabilitation, maintenance and the construction of range improvements (including project layout, project design, and project supervision). No more than 15 per centum of such funds provided herein shall be used to hire and train such experienced and qualified personnel as are necessary to implement on-the-ground supervision and enforcen)ent of the land use plans required pursuant to section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1712) and such allotment management plans as may be devel- Distribution, oped. Such funds shall be distributed as the Secretary deems advisable consultation and after careful and considered consultation and coordination, including coordination. public hearings and meetings where appropriate, with the district grazing advisory boards established pursuant to section 403 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1753), and the advisory councils established pursuant to section 309 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1739), range user repre- sentatives, and other interested parties. To the maximum extent prac- ticable, and where economically sound, the Secretary shall give priority to entering into cooperative agreements with range users (or user groups) for the installation and maintenance of on-the-ground range improvements. Environmental (d) Prior to the use of any funds authorized by this section the assessment Secretary shall cause to have prepared an environmental assessment record. lecord on each range improvement project. Thereafter, improvement projects may be constructed unless the Secretary determines that the })roject will have a significant impact on the quality of human environ- ment, necessitating an environmental impact statement pursuant to 42 use 4321 the National Environmental Policy Act prior to the expenditure of note. funds. GRAZING FEES 43 use 1905. SEC. 6. (a) For the grazing years 1979 through 1985, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior shall charge the fee for domestic livestock grazing on the public rangelands which Congress finds represents the economic value of the use of the land to the user, and under which Congress finds fair market value for public grazing equals the $1.23 base established bv the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing Survey multi- plied bv the result of the Forage Value Index (computed annually from data supplied by the Economic Research Service) added to the Combined Index (Beef Cattle Price Index minus the Price Paid Index) and divided by 100: Provided^ That the annual increase or decrease in such fee for any given vear shall be limited to not more than plus or minus 25 per centum of the previous year's fee. Cb) The second sentence of section 401(b) (1) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1751(b) (1)) is hereby amended by adding the words "or $10,000,000 per annum, whichever is greater" after the words "50 per centum", and by substituting the Avord "sixteen" for the word "eleven" before the words "contiguous Western States".
PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 92 STAT. 1807 (JRAZING LEASES AND PERMITS SEC. 7. (a) Section 402(b)(3) of the Federal Land Policy aiid Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1752) is amended by striking- the period at the end of the proviso and adding " : Provided further^ That the absence of completed land use plans or court ordered environmental statements shall not be the sole basis for establishing a term shorter than ten years unless the Secretary determines on a case-by-case basis that the information to be contained in such land use plan or court ordered environmental impact statement is necessary to determine whether a shorter term should be established for any of the reasons set forth in items (1) through (3) of this subsection.". (b) Section 402(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act is hereby amended by substituting the word "sixteen" for the word "eleven" before the words "contiguous Western States". ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS SEC. 8. Sections 402 (d) and (e) (43 U.S.C. 1752 (d) and (e)) are hereby amended— (a) by changing subsection (d) to read as follows: "(d) All permits and leases for domestic livestock grazing issued pursuant to this section may incorporate an allotment management plan developed by the Secretary concerned. However, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to supersede any requirement for com- pletion of court ordered environmental impact statements prior to development and incorporation of allotment management plans. If Consultation the Secretary concerned elects to develop an allotment management and plan for a given area, he shall do so in careful and considered consul- cooperation. tation, cooperation and coordination with the lessees, permittees, and landowners involved, the district grazing advisory boards established pursuant to section 403 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1753), and any State or States having lands within the area to be covered by such allotment inanagement plan. Allotment management plans shall be tailored to the specific range condition of the area to be covered by such plan, and shall be reviewed on a periodic basis to determine whether they have been effective in improv- ing the range condition of the lands involved or whether such lands can be better managed under the provisions of subsection (e) of this section. The Secretary concerned may revise or terminate such plans or develop new plans from time to time after such review and careful and considered consultation, cooperation and coordination with the parties involved. As used in this subsection, the terms 'court ordered Definitions environmental impact statement' and 'range condition' shall be defined ns in the 'Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978.' ". Ante, p. 1803. (b) by deleting in subsection (e) the words "Prior to October 1, 1988. or thereafter, in" and bv inserting "In". APPROPRIATIONS SEC. 9. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, authority 43 USC 1906. to enter into cooperative agreements and to make payments under this Act shall be effective only to the extent or in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts.
92 STAT. 1808 PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 GRAZING ADVISORY BOARDS SEC. 10. Section 403 (a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1753) is amended by substituting the word "sixteen" for the word "eleven" before the words "contiguous Western States". XATIOXAL GRASSLAND EXEMPTIONS 43 use 1907. SEC. 11. All National Grasslands are exempted from the provisions of this Act. EXPERIMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM 43 use 1908. SEC. 12. (a) The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture are hereby authorized and directed to develop and implement, on an experimental basis on selected areas of the public rangelands which are representa- tive of the broad spectrum of range conditions, trends, and forage values, a program which provides incentives to, or rewards for, the holders of grazing permits and leases whose stewardship results in an improvement of the range condition of lands under permit or lease. Such program shall explore innovative grazing management policies and systems which might provide incentives to improve range condi- tions. These may include, but need not be limited to— (1) cooperative range management projects designed to foster a greater degree of cooperation and coordination between the Fed- eral and State agencies charged with the management of the rangelands and with local private range users, (2) the payment of up to 50 per centum of the amount due the Federal Government from grazing permittees in the form of range improvement work, (3) such other incentives as he may deem appropriate. Report to (b) No later than December 31, 1985, the Secretaries shall report Congress. to the Congress the results of such experimental program, their evalu- ation of the fee established in section 6 of this Act and other grazing fee options, and their recommendations to implement a grazing fee schedule for the 1986 and subsequent grazing years. ADVISORY COUNCILS SEC. 13. The first line of section 309(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1739) is amended by deleting "is authorized to" and inserting in lieu thereof "shall". WILD HORSES AND BURROS Inventory and SEC. 14. (a) Subsections 3 (b), (c), and (d) of the Act of Decem- determinations. ber 15,1971 (85 Stat. 649; 16 U.S.C. 1333(b) (3)) are hereby amended to read as follows: "(b) (1) The Secretary shall maintain a current inventory of wild free-roaming horses and burros on given areas of the public lands. The purpose of such inventory shall be t o : make determinations as to whether and where an overpopulation exists and whether action should be taken to remove excess animals; determine appropriate management levels of wild free-roaming horses and burros on these areas of the public lands; and determine whether appropriate manage- ment levels should be achieved by the removal or destruction of excess animals, or other options (such as sterilization, or natural controls on
PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 92 STAT. 1809 population levels). In making such determinations the Secretary shall Consultation. consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife agencies of the State or States wherein wild free-roaming horses and burros are located, such individuals independent of Federal and State *, government as have been recommended by the National Academy of - • Sciences, and such other individuals whom he determines have scientific expertise and special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection, wildlife management and animal husbandry as related to rangeland management. " (2) Where the Secretary determines on the basis of (i) the current Overpopulation, inventory of lands within his jurisdiction; (ii) information contained in any land use planning completed pursuant to section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976; (iii) information 43 USC 1712. contained in court ordered environmental impact statements as defined in section 2 of the Public Range Lands Improvement Act of 1978; and (iv) such additional information as becomes available to him from time to time, including that information developed in the research study mandated by this section, or in the absence of the information contained in (i-iv) above on the basis of all information currently available to him, that an overpopulation exists on a given area of the public lands and that action is necessary to remove excess animals, he shall immediately remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels. Such action shall be taken, in the fol- lowing order and priority, until all excess animals have been removed so as to restore a thriving natural ecological balance to the range, and protect the range from the deterioration associated with overpopulation: " (A) The Secretary shall order old, sick, or lame animals to be destroyed in the most humane manner possible; •• > - "(B) The Secretary shall cause such number of additional excess wild free-roaming horses and burros to be humanely cap- tured and removed for private maintenance and care for which he determines an adoption demand exists by qualified individuals, and for which he determines he can assure humane treatment and care (including proper transportation, feeding, and handling) : Provided^ That, not more than four animals may be adopted per year by any individual unless the Secretary determines in writing that such individual is capable of humanely caring for more than four animals, including the transportation of such animals by the adopting party; and "(C) The Secretary shall cause additional excess wild free- roaming horses and burros for which an adoption demand by qualified individuals does not exist to be destroyed in the most humane and cost efficient manner possible. "(3) For the purpose of furthering knowledge of wild horse and Research burro population dynamics and their interrelationship with wildlife, study, forage and water resources, and assisting him in making his deter- mination as to what constitutes excess animals, the Secretary shall contract for a research study of such animals with such individuals independent of Federal and State government as may be recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for having scientific expertise and special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection, wildlife management and animal husbandry as related to rangeland manage- ment. The terms and outline of such research study shall be determined by a research design panel to be appointed by the President of the 39-194 O- -pt. 2 34 : QLS
92 STAT. 1810 PUBLIC LAW 95-514—OCT. 25, 1978 Stibmittal to National Academy of Sciences. Such study shall be completed and sub- Congress, mitted by the Secretary to the Senate and House of Representatives on or before January 1, 1983. Title, ^ "(c) Where excess animals have been transferred to a qualified application. individual for adoption and private maintenance pursuant to this Act and the Secretary determines that such individual has provided humane conditions, treatment and care for such animal or animals for a period of one year, the Secretary is authorized upon application by the transferee to grant title to not more than four animals to the trans- i ' ^ > ' feree at the end of the one-year period. "(d) Wild free-roaming horses and burros or their remains shall lose their status as wild free-roaming horses or burros and shall no * longer be considered as falling within the purview of this Act— "(1) upon passage of title pursuant to subsection (c) except for the limitation of subsection (c) (1) of this section; or "(2) if they have been transferred for private maintenance or adoption pursuant to this Act and die of natural causes before passage of title; or " (3) upon destruction by the Secretary or his designee pursuant to subsection (b) of this section; or " (4) if they die of natural causes on the public lands or on pri- vate lands where maintained thereon pursuant to section 4 and disposal is authorized by the Secretarj' or his designee; or "(5) upon destruction or death for purposes of or incident to the program authorized in section 3 of this Act; Provided, That no wild free-roaming horse or burro or its remains may be sold or transferred for consideration for processing into commercial products.". "fexcess (b) A new subsection (f) is added to section 2 of the Act of Decem- animaU." ber 15, 1971, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1332) to read as follows: "(f) 'excess animals' means wild free-roaming horses or burros (1) which have been removed from an area by the Secretary pursu- ant to applicable law or, (2) which must be removed from an area in order to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area." Approved October 25, 1978. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: HOUSE REPORTS: No. 95-1122 (Comm. on Interior and Insular Affairs) and No. 95-1737 (Comm. of Conference). SENATE REPORT No. 95-1237 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources). CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 124 (1978): June 29, considered and passed House. Sept. 30, considered and passed Senate, amended. Oct. 10, House agreed to conference report. Oct. 11, Senate agreed to conference report. WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, VoL 14, No. 43: Oct. 27, Presidential statement.