Grazing News

Two items of note involving grazing on federal lands, via the Public Lands Council:

Grazing permits: Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act threatens land use, Wyoming Livestock Roundup – On March 3, Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calf.) released statements following the proposed bill of the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act. The bill gives grazing permit holders the option to waive their grazing permits on federal lands in return for compensation. The bill was first introduced in the House of Representatives on Jan. 30, 2020. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources by the House of Representatives and then referred to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public lands on Feb. 3, 2020.

Groups halt grazing in Elkhorn Mountains, Daily Montanan – Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council successfully halt grazing and sagebrush-juniper burning in the Elkhorn Mountains Wildlife Management Area. A federal district court ruled in favor of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council in a lawsuit to force the Bureau of Land Management to conduct an adequate environmental analysis before grazing and burning in the Iron Mask Acquisition area of the Elkhorn Mountains. The court’s March 14 order mandates additional analysis, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and requires the agency to analyze if existing agency-installed fences and water developments for cattle grazing should be removed.

4 thoughts on “Grazing News”

  1. Here’s some other grazing news:

    54 million acres of federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management aren’t meeting the agency’s own land-health standards.

    “PEER’s analysis finds that livestock grazing is the primary culprit behind land degradation. The BLM leases more than half of its acreage to ranchers as grazing allotments for cattle, sheep and other livestock. Although everything from drought and wildfire to off-road vehicles can impact rangeland health, livestock grazing is a significant cause of the failing land-health standards of 72% of the public land. That’s about 40 million acres.”

  2. Retiring grazing allotments would be the best arrow in the quiver of land management tools to provide sustainability if it were applied to most federal land grazing permits. We now have 150 years of unsustainable grazing on most allotments. Stream channel degradation, riparian shrubs component eliminated or reduced, compacted soils, expanded exotic blue grass expansion, creation of favorable conditions for the explosion of invasive plant species are all almost ubiquitous on federal allotments. All for less than 4% of the nation’s beef production.

  3. Here some more grazing news:

    The Bureau of Land Management is failing to conduct an environmental analysis before renewing many livestock and sheep grazing permits across millions of acres of public lands in the West, an environmental advocacy group says.

    Western Watersheds Project says its analysis of federal data shows that last year, more than half — 54 percent — of federal grazing allotment permit renewals were authorized by BLM without conducting site-specific environmental analysis of the rangeland as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act.

    The result is likely degraded federal rangelands, affecting everything from the survival of greater sage grouse habitat to the health of congressionally designated wilderness areas, argued the group, which has opposed livestock grazing on federal lands.

  4. I couldn’t read the whole article on grazing permit renewal, but I assume the rationale for not using the NEPA process is the Rescissions Act enacted many years ago that provides a loophole for renewals. This data provides an opportunity for some Congressional oversight. Maybe they could add something to the voluntary permit retirement bill to improve this.

    Voluntary permit retirements are currently allowed, but, “unless there is Congressional legislation, any permit retirement is potentially available for restocking.” See:
    (I wonder how they would make them “permanent.”)


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