Rangeland Health Information

Rangeland Health is a significant concern to landowners in Rio Blanco County. The County consists of approximately 75% public lands and our economy depends upon the multiple uses of these lands.  Well managed lands will provide for all multiple uses and enjoyment of all interested parties.

Grazing  management of all ungulates is absolutely critical to the health of the range.  Healthy rangelands provide habitat and feed for many species. Primary uses of the range in Rio Blanco County include large game species including deer and elk, smaller wildlife species including the Greater Sage Grouse, livestock grazing, and wild/feral horses protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.

The range is affected by oil and gas (O&G) development through roads, pipelines, and well pads. The districts recognize the value and need for O&G as one of the multiple uses of the public lands and encourage good reclamation practices to restore the land disturbances.  When reclamation is done well, it can result in improved range and habitat.

Range Monitoring is critical to range management.  Therefore, the Districts host Rangeland Monitoring workshops and encourage all land managers, private and public, to conduct range monitoring to document and improve range management when necessary.  The Districts have partnered with the Colorado Cattlemen's Association and the Colorado State Conservation Board to encourage livestock producers to participate in the Colorado Resource Monitoring Initiative Program.  This program provides a third party verified database for the rancher to store their data which can be used for ranch management and public lands decisions regarding livestock grazing.


Wild (Feral) Horses

Based on Concerns from local stakeholders, the Districts have been actively engaged in the excess horse issues on a local, state, and national basis for more than ten years.  


Wild/ Feral Horses located in eastern Rio Blanco County. Photo: Kendra Young
Horse Range
A natural pond near wild/ feral horse range with no water and very sparse grass growth. Photo: Kendra Young
A large group of wild/feral horses in eastern Rio Blanco County. Photo: Kendra Young