Thursday, July 26, 2007

Grazing Wars

The dispute between southern Idaho ranchers and the BLM continues. One of the ranchers has alleged that the BLM's grazing regulation has contributed to the large fires raging along the south Idaho border. The ranchers are saying that more grazing would lead to less fuel, and smaller fires.

Ralph Maughan, long-time environmental activist (and a former poli sci professor of mine, recently retired) posts this reply.
Brackett is correct that the grazing rules led to the size of the fire, but in exactly the wrong way. The grazing rules have led to cheatgrass. The cheatgrass burns, killing the much less fire tolerant native grasses. Then the BLM reseeds with the wrong mixture of grass seed, such as non-native crested wheatgrass and various cultivars of native and non-native grasses. Then the BLM doesn’t give time for even their poorly suited mixture to take hold before cows are dumped back on the grazing allotment. Of course, this leads to more cheatgrass.
It's going to be a long, hot, dry summer, especially for the BLM (Bureau of Livestock and Mining) caught in the middle of this controversy.

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