Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sage Grouse- The spotted owl of grazing

Sage Grouse were given a warranted but precluded status by Ken Salazar. What a great victory for producer that use public lands. I saw up close and personal what Western Watersheds Project would try and do if they reached threatened and endangered status. Here is the story.

A small allotment on National Forest was closed down to lambing because it was a historic lekking site. No, I should rephrase that... A small allotment on National Forest was closed down to sheep use AT ALL because Western Watersheds sued the government. Costing tax payer money, reducing the economy of a rural community, and causing range cons to neglect their permittees due to fear of lawsuits from WWP.

This was all based on assumptions, tangential data, and fear not science!!! The science states- There is no direct link between declining sage grouse numbers and livestock use. Sage Grouse perfer meadows grazed in early spring to those that were ungrazed. Salting and watering areas, those lands that are traditionally classified as sacrfice areas, are preferred places for lekking by sage grouse males. The list goes on... In fact, the leading sage grouse expert says there needs to be grazing to improve sage grouse habitat. Not just late summer grazing either. Grazing should be based on a 15 month deferred rotation system. Hmmmm...

So, I guess the areas were "welfare" grazing are taking place are actually helping a threatened and endangered species. I wonder what Jon Marvel has to say about that.

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