20 Apr 2011, 10:55am
Latest Wildlife News Tramps and Thieves
by admin

Grazing prohibited to protect grouse

Judge rules to remove cattle near Jarbidge

By KATHERINE WUTZ, Idaho Mountain Express, April 20, 2011 [here]

More than 450,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land south of Twin Falls will be free from grazing for the foreseeable future, due to a recent decision by a federal judge.

Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled on April 13 to uphold a previous decision that forbade livestock grazing on 28 grazing allotments on public land in the Jarbidge area. The ruling was in favor of plaintiff Western Watersheds Project, based in Hailey.

The move was lauded by conservationists, who say grazing has damaged sage-grouse habitat.

“Closing these allotments to livestock grazing makes sense in light of the collapse of the sage-grouse populations across the Jarbidge,” said Todd Tucci, a lawyer with Advocates for the West who represented Western Watersheds during the case.

Randy Smith, regional game manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said grouse numbers have been dropping steadily since 2006.

“I wouldn’t use the word collapsing,” he said, “but we’ve seen about a 50 percent drop in sage grouse numbers in the Magic Valley region.”

Smith said the department isn’t sure what’s causing the decline, though West Nile virus was likely a factor. He said wildfires in the Jarbidge area have damaged habitat and caused declines in the population there that exceed regional averages.

However, he said, properly managed livestock grazing is neither good nor bad for grouse habitat. … [more]

Note: the government’s scientific finding that grazing does NOT impinge on sage-grouse was thrown out by the judge, who is NOT a scientist of any stripe.



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