The University of Arizona

Variation of BLM employee attitudes toward environmental conditions on rangelands.

R.T. Richards, L. Huntsinger

Abstract


Using survey data collected as part of a comprehensive reevaluation of the Vale Rangeland Rehabilitation Project in eastern Oregon, this exploratory study examined variation in attitudes of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees toward rangeland environmental conditions. Almost one-half of the BLM employees surveyed believed the loss of streamside vegetation (48%) and streambank erosion (42%) were widespread problems on Vale rangelands. Approximately a quarter of the respondents believed rangeland soil loss (24%) and overgrazing (26%) were problems, while only a tenth believed water pollution (10%) was a problem on many or most areas. A composite scale of these attitude toward environmental conditions on rangelands was developed and assessed. The composite scale was regressed on respondents' regional affiliation, length of service, and ideological attitudes towards government role in natural resource management. In contrast to findings from studies for USFS employees, attitudes toward range environmental conditions were not determined by regional affiliation or length of service (P > 0.05). Rather, BLM employee attitudes toward range environmental conditions were found to vary by the interaction of length of service in the agency and attitude toward government's role in regulating water quality (P < 0.05) and managing livestock grazing (P < 0.01). As length of service increases, core beliefs, professional norms, or client constituencies may not polarize employee attitudes but rather moderate them over time. The accumulation of environmental knowledge may also tend to influence environmental attitudes so that ideological attitudes may have a weaker effect as time passes and expertise expands.

Keywords


environmental assessment;attitudes and opinions;human resources;surveys;soil erosion;riparian buffers;Oregon;water quality;rangelands;grazing

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