Grazing Lawsuit on the Stanislaus National Forest

Photo of Bluff Meadow courtesy of CSERC

Julie Stevens of CSERC sent me this link and said that they would be willing to answer any questions about this lawsuit.
Here’s the link:

I’m working on trying to get the FS side of the story.

Relevant to our discussion of the concept of multiple use, I thought this quote was interesting:

The goal of this litigation is to protect water quality, public health, and at-risk resources — not to halt livestock grazing on national forest land,” Buckley noted. “But federal agencies such as the Forest Service need to comply with the Clean Water Act and appropriately protect water quality the same as anyone else. Laboratory results frequently detect fecal coliform pollution at levels above safe thresholds for recreational contact in streams affected by livestock. One laboratory test of a stream sample in 2016 showed stream pollution more than 100 times the threshold level. In contrast, tested streams without any permitted livestock presence routinely show acceptable water quality results. When it comes to water quality in mountain streams, pollution by livestock matters.”

The conservation groups are open to discussion with USFS officials about steps that could settle this lawsuit. Key to any settlement would be agreement from the Forest Service to abide by its own resource regulations, to comply with environmental policies, to reduce livestock contamination of water, and to protect critical wildlife habitat when evidence of resource damage is documented.

“We support balanced public land management,” emphasized Dr. Britting of SFL. “That means that one commercial use (such as livestock grazing) should only be permitted to the degree that it does not cause significant harm to water quality, public health, threatened plants and wildlife, recreation, and scenic values on public land.”

I like how they laid out what they are looking for in a settlement (although probably not as specific enough as blog readers might prefer). However, it’s interesting that recreation seems to be seen more as a value than a use.

One Comment

  1. Recreation as a value may be more tangible to the average person than ppm. Certainly if a body of water is not suitable for safe recreation, so as to protect public health, it is clearly an indication of a mismanaged resource. I think it’s a good, common sense quantitative indicator.

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