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3,819,697 acres were surveyed on a reconnaissance basis. Approximately one-third of the above acreage is within approved soil and moisture conservation projects. Property examinations were made on 1,839 cases during the year. An estimated job load of 17,959 such cases exists in 60 grazing districts of which 13,673 have been examined to date, only one-third of which are completed to required standard. The appropriate decision as to the relative claims of about 5,000 bona fide applicants for range privileges is still tentative and unsettled. This program should be augmented in order to achieve the conservation objectives of grazing districts.
HEARINGS AND APPEALS During the fiscal year 1945, 100 appeals from decisions of the local administrative officers were filed, 86 of all pending appeals being disposed of by cooperative actions between the appellants and district graziers or through formal hearings and decisions of examiners. Ten examiners' decisions were appealed to the Secretary.
LAND PLANNING AND UTILIZATION
Fundamental in the conservation program is a policy which will fit the complexities of land ownership within grazing districts into manageable units whereby the land can be properly administered and the greatest benefits will accrue to both public and private lands. This is accomplished mainly through exchange of lands, exchange of use, cooperative agreements with States, counties, and individuals, and by leasing lands within the boundaries of grazing districts under the Pierce Act.
Land planning in grazing districts to improve the pattern of ownership was undertaken and considerable progress has been made during recent years. Detailed plans involving a long-time program of exchange, blocking and negotiation were submitted for review. One of the most effective means of coordinated land administration in areas of mixed ownership is through cooperative agreements with the individuals, groups, or agencies affected. A number of such agreements were inaugurated during the year and many that were entered into during previous years were continued.
COOPERATION WITH MILITARY SERVICES At the end of the fiscal year 14,403,302 acres of public land in grazing districts were involved in military withdrawals and use permits representing a reduction of 25,617 acres from the amount used for such purposes during the previous year. Major military uses of public lands include testing ranges for bombing, aerial gunnery, machine-gun practice, and areas for airfields, airports, landing fields, tank corps maneuver grounds, proving grounds, storage dumps, and depot centers. Also lands were provided the War and Navy Departments, the Defense Plant Corporation, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the Federal Housing Authority for rights-of-way, telephone lines, water-pipe lines, landing strips, and airfields.
Other activities in connection with the war program included the consideration of applications for timber, involving millions of board feet, in grazing districts under the act of June 5, 1942 (Pub. Law 586, 77th Cong.). Assistance was given to military services in the appraisal of nonpublic lands listed for lease, purchase, and condemnation.
STATUS OF GRAZING DISTRICTS Grazing districts total 60 in number, there having been no change during the year. However, modification orders, withdrawals, and revocations involving public lands mainly for reclamation and military purposes caused many internal changes in grazing districts, resulting in the addition of about 5,000,000 acres of all categories of land to the total area administered during the previous year. The statistical detail of grazing district acreage is shown on table II at the end of the chapter.
LAND CLASSIFICATION At the beginning of fiscal year 1945, 283 individual land cases were pending within grazing districts under sections 6, 7, 8, and 14 of the Taylor Grazing Act; the 5-acre-tract law of 1938; and other publicland laws. A total of 783 new cases were received, 671 were disposed of, and 395 were pending at the close of the year.
PIERCE ACT LEASES Favorable economic conditions of recent years have created an active demand for non-Federal grazing lands as well as for crop lands within the boundaries of grazing districts. As a result, much of the State and county-owned land formerly leased under the Pierce Act was sold or leased to individuals. The area of Pierce Act leases at the end of the year totaled 928,500 acres in 6 States.
APPROPRIATIONS AND ALLOTMENTS
Administrative funds provided by Congress for the fiscal year totaled $1,047,740. Of this amount $119,630 was for fire suppression and presuppression leaving $928,110 for grazing district administration. In addition $115,000 for construction and maintenance of range improvements, and $8,500 for leasing of lands under the Pierce Act were available from direct appropriations. Allotments for emergency fire fighting totaled $125,000 and for soil and moisture
conservation work $492,500. Advisory boards contributed $77,115.83 for range improvements. The Public Roads Administration transferred to the Grazing Service $520,500 for construction and maintenance of access roads to mineral deposits and other war material in eight States.
FEES COLLECTED AND DISTRIBUTED
Earned grazing fees during the year totaled $765,382.35, of which $211.93 was deposited to the credit of Indians in Arizona and $382,585.24 was paid to 10 Western States for expenditure under State law. Grazing fee income for the year by States with the respective amounts paid to States shown in parentheses, are summarized as follows: Arizona $40,059.14 ($19,923.60); California $19,767.67 ($9,883.81); Colorado $51,503.65 ($25,751.84); Idaho $77,851.91 ($38,925.98); Montana $52,961.47 ($26,480.71); Nevada $118,411.97 ($59,206); New Mexico $118,277.65 ($59,138.80); Oregon $52,035.92 ($26,017.97); Utah $133,079.86 ($66,539.95); Wyoming $101,433.11 ($50,716.58). Earned fees in grazing districts for the 10-year period ending June 30, 1945, now total $6,927,036.03, of which $3,444,632.58 have been paid to the above listed States under provisions of the Taylor Grazing Act.
The Service continued to be hampered by a large personnel turnover, mainly in field and clerical positions. This affected chiefly the district and regional offices and reduced materially the output and the quality of pressing work. Excessive time of supervisory personnel was required in training new employees. Many costly delays in work programs were experienced due to lack of repair facilities and scarcity of materials and parts.
During the war the Grazing Service has maintained a policy of limiting its construction program to projects that were absolutely necessary to aid the production and handling of livestock on the range. Only 651 stock-water developments, 342 miles of truck trails, 125 miles of stock trails and driveways, and 390 miles of fence were built. On the other hand, strong emphasis was placed on the maintenance of range improvements previously constructed.
A summary of range improvements with accumulative totals is shown on table III at the end of the chapter.
SOIL AND MOISTURE CONSERVATION Soil and moisture conservation activities were conducted on 55project areas. Nine additional project areas were added during the ward the correction of conditions on the more critically eroded areas of Federal lands and the operations performed are those of proved value as demonstrated heretofore under like soil and other conditions.
Wherever possible the securing of a maximum amount of cooperation from the users of the lands is urged, for, while the lands are exclusively or primarily in Federal ownership, the users who are dependent thereon for a livelihood have a definite interest in their reconstruction and improvement. This cooperative feature constitutes a further coordination of the soil and moisture conservation program which facilitates and hastens the corrective procedures while providing more definite assurance against recurrence of the destructive processes that have heretofore occurred. The constant pressure by the Department in this matter of cooperation has resulted in a year-to-year increase in the amount of such cooperation, until at the present time the amount contributed is almost equal in value to the appropriations authorized by Congress for soil and moisture conservation operations on the Federal landş.
The soil and moisture conservation program of the Department comprises operations on 500 project areas scattered through 30 States, embracing a total area of approximately 60 million acres. It has been determined that of this total between 10 and 12 million acres can be classed as being in a serious or critically eroded condition. Approximately 20 million acres in addition should receive some attention from a soil and moisture conservation standpoint, with the remaining 30 million acres largely in the twilight zone where material benefits from a conservation standpoint can be obtained without too large expenditures, provided the lands and resources are properly managed.
FOREST CONSERVATION In the field of forest conservation the program of the Office of Land Utilization has been mainly directed toward the accomplishment of three specific objectives:
1. The securing of adequate protection for the forest and range resources administered by the Department,
2. The development of the sustained-yield principle in the management of the forest resources under the jurisdiction of the Department.
3. The formulation of a sound plan of management for the forests of the interior of Alaska.
In the field of protection the Office of Land Utilization rendered advisory service to the agencies concerned in more fully and adequately presenting to the Congress the whole forest protection problem on the 400 million acres of forest, brush, and grass lands under management in the continental United States and Alaska. Appropriations made available during the past 4 years have more than doubled and, while not yet sufficient to provide adequate protection
for all of the lands in need thereof, the several agencies concerned are better organized and better prepared than ever before to protect the public lands from the ravages of fire, insects, and disease. As concrete evidence of progress in this direction, it should be noted that the area burned over in the continental United States has been reduced from 1,879,613 acres in the calendar year 1942 to 552,235 acres in the calendar year 1944; and in Alaska, from 4,500,000 acres in 1940 to 110,603 acres in 1944.
Cooperative work carried on with the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, Department of Agriculture, in which the Office of Land Utilization acts in a supervisory capacity, has brought about the coordination of white pine blister rust control operations designed to protect the valuable five-needle pines from the white-pine blister rust. Control work has been definitely advanced on the national parks, Indian reservations, and the Oregon and California revested grant lands. At the close of operations last December, a total of 363,000 acres out of the 728,000 acres of white pine lands under the jurisdiction of the Department had been covered by the preliminary eradication of the species of brush responsible for the spread of the disease. Plans are in preparation involving expanded and more intensive operations looking to the control of infections that are a constant menace over large areas of land, portions of which are under the jurisdiction of the Department.
Sustained yield of forest resources contemplates improvement in conditions of growth, management of the timber stand, and utilization of the timber crop in ways that will permit and sustain the entire economy built around the lumber industry. The Office of Land Utilization participated during the preceding year in the preparation and presentation to the Congress of information relating to the values inherent in the sustained-yield principle. The representations made in this connection by Federal, State, and private agencies resulted in the enactment of the cooperative sustained-yield forest management act of 1944, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to establish sustained-yield units either directly or in cooperation with other forest land owners, A general statement of policy with respect to the administration of this law was formulated by the Department for the guidance of the agencies concerned. Marked progress was also made in the application of the sustained-yield principle under the O. & C. Act of 1937, and a form of cooperative agreement was worked out by the General Land Office and the Office of Land Utilization.
The major forward step taken by the Department in the field of forest conservation during the year 1944 was the securing of a regular appropriation of $147,460 "For the administration and management of forest resources, including the prevention and suppression of fires