The Force of the Horse

Cheatgrass, Wildfire and Livestock Grazing

By as published on The Wildlife News

BLM plans to expand Public Land destruction caused by Welfare Ranching

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is rewriting its grazing regulations to allow more “flexibility” into range management. The agency even proposes increases in grazing seasons and numbers. All of this, of course, is the result of the pressure from the fox (Trump administration) guarding the hen house.

I think most career BLM employees know these changes will only lead to further degradation of our rangelands. Unfortunately, if you are a BLM employee, you must keep your head down, or you will be out of a job.

One of the excuses used to expand grazing is to reduce wildfires. While grazing grasses might appear to make sense as a fuel reduction effort to those who are unfamiliar with fire ecology, the reality is more nuanced.

Reducing the invasion of cheatgrass is given as the rationale for more livestock grazing, however, the agency, ranchers, range “scientists ignore the many studies that link livestock grazing and cheatgrass spread.

For instance, a recent paper concluded: “Results also suggest that cattle grazing reduces invasion resistance (to cheatgrass) by decreasing bunchgrass abundance, shifting bunchgrass composition, and thereby increasing connectivity of gaps between perennial plants while trampling further reduces resistance by reducing BSC (biological soil crusts).”…(CONTINUED)

11 replies »

  1. It comes down to the fact that it does NOT matter to BLM or livestock industry what science literally SHOWS. All that matters is they want what they want – period. Wouldnt it be great if the BLM would actively listen to science & CARE about making our public lands healthy? Or if enough of our representatives made an effort to learn what would heal the ranges & riparian streams & creeks. That doesnt appear to be an issue that comes up. I do wonder what happens to all the info & science that is emailed or otherwise put in front of these same representatives – or their staff – does anyone actually read it? For instance, all the white papers & FOIA information – I’m sure it gets sent to them – but if they dont make an effort to read it & learn – what then?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Does this site have permission to use tGeorge Wuerthner and The Wildlife News content? It so, there should be a line indicating permission. If not, it’s copyright infringement. Copyright laws protect writers, other content creators (like photographers, etc) and their publishers. from economic loss due to loss of audience. Please just post an introductory paragraph in quotes, and a link to the original, unless you’ve gotten permission. That’s standard practice. Thanks.


  3. The March 10 deadline passed before this showed up here.

    On a related matter though, there are a few studies (I can link if folks are interested) documenting how combustible dried cow patties are, especially in a wildfire situation they can exacerbate and fuel the fire. Their widespread dispersal over millions of acres of public lands is perhaps useful in some regards but alarming in the context of wildfires.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Where the BUCK STOPS

    Department of the Interior Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

    Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Commitee on his department’s fiscal year 2021 budget request. He answered several questions from members on transparency within the department, leadership challenges at the Grand Canyon, climate change, and efforts to prevent coronavirus in the tribal communities.


      • There is some about grazing. When you watch the senator from Nevada question him about the military intending to take more of Nevada’s public lands he was asked some questions about the DOI’s input. He was asked if grazing would be included. He didn’t give an answer. Actually, there weren’t many questions that he did answer.


  5. The link to the original article is there. I followed it, read the comments and will share one very insightful comment here

    Reader comment

    Public lands, whether forest or rangeland are being purposely mismanaged so that more money can flow through the bureaucratic system of fire control, pest and weed management, road building, nebulous planning etc..

    The primary goal has become to keep the bureaucracy going while the land vegetation complex suffers. Like a slave past it’s prime, the tired, diseased, worn out land will be sold in a last gasp to “save” the economy and bureaucratic zombies.

    El Trumpo is accelerating America to an apocalypse.


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