The San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest is initiating a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis for the Garner Allotment Management Plan and Term Grazing Permit project. This is the third of four Garner Valley allotments being reviewed.

The Garner Allotment Management Plan and Term Grazing Permit project, which would authorize 1,800 head months, which is 150 head per year of cattle on the approximately 15,117-acre Garner Allotment. Currently, 180 head of cattle are permitted to graze the allotment.

The total head months is greater than the current permit, but grazing intensity per acre is less than the current permit due to the addition of recently acquired private ranch lands. The new AMP will focus on utilizing the existing pasture system by incorporating a rotational grazing system on the allotment.

Project information is available online here.

Grazing by domestic livestock has occurred on the lands of the San Jacinto Ranger District since at least the 1800s. The Garner allotment has been permitted for grazing to the Garner Cattle Company since 1925. The Garner allotment has always been permitted to the owners of the Garner Cattle Company. The private ranch predates the establishment in the area of the San Bernardino National Forest.

The Garner allotment covers broad areas in the Upper San Jacinto River watershed. Forest Service water quality sampling (2006-2010) has shown conclusively that Forest Service management activities are not increasing nutrient levels above background conditions when measured four miles upstream of the USGS Cranston gauging station.

A new allotment management plan needs to be developed for the Garner allotment that incorporates forest plan standards and new species information, formalizes monitoring for forage utilization, and emphasizes rotating livestock to avoid overuse.

The Forest Service is inviting comments and thoughts on issues and concerns related to this proposal. The preference for receiving comments is by email. Please send comments to: [email protected] by June 18, 2012 with the words “Garner Allotment Project” in the subject line. If you are unable to send comments electronically, you may send them to the following address: Garner Allotment Project, San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92408.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of respondents, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered.

If you have questions about this proposal, contact Tom Hall, environmental coordinator at [email protected]; (909) 382-2905; 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92408.

In September 2010, the Paradise grazing allotment was withdrawn. The Paradise allotment was only 489 acres and the Forest Service said it did not meet its minimum grazing standards.

In May 2011, San Jacinto District Ranger Laurie Rosenthal announced her decision to authorize grazing intensity of up to 300 head months on the Rouse allotment.