Vegetation Monitoring and Compliance Assistance


Ranchers rely on Farallon to perform annual vegetation monitoring necessary for U.S. Forest Service grazing permits.

Farallon conducts annual vegetation monitoring of riparian and upland zones to enable cattle owners to demonstrate compliance with their U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing permit.  A grazing permit allows ranchers to turn cattle out onto federal forest land in exchange for maintaining fencing, rotating cattle to avoid overgrazing, and protecting water sources.  Once a grazing permit has been secured, the permit holder must be vigilant to maintain compliance with permit terms and conditions to avoid permit suspension or cancellation.

Farallon partners with USFS to determine appropriate monitoring protocols and areas to be monitored to ensure compliance with USFS management guidelines.  Monitoring is conducted during three time periods:  before cattle are turned out onto federal land, to determine grass height before grazing; midseason, to monitor long-term data trends; and after the grazing season, to demonstrate that cattle were moved before the area was overgrazed.

Multiple-indicator monitoring assesses riparian zones, and catalogs cattle- and wildlife‑use indicators such as streambank alteration and stability, species and stubble height, and woody species use.  Monitoring of upland areas tracks vegetative species, photo points, stubble height, and trend/cover.

Farallon Senior Ecologist Peggy Browne has extensive USFS grazing permit experience, assisting clients in documenting permit compliance throughout the grazing season.  According to Peggy, “Working closely with a client’s attorney is an effective way to protect a permit holder from litigation.  Farallon is able to provide an attorney with the information required to keep a grazing permit in good standing.”