Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Ranchers see change in attitude from federal FWS
Richard and Susie Snedden are hoping for a thaw in what until now has been a frigid relationship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a plan to manage the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge that borders their cattle ranch southeast of Maricopa. Four years in the making, the plan envisions spending $6.7 million (not including the cost of personnel) to enhance the habitat of the endangered California condor. “The first meeting (in 2008) was a pretty hostile deal,” said Richard Snedden. “I didn’t see any disrespect this time.” Prior meetings between the USFWS and property owners were filled with rancor, but this time around the give-and-take was much more amiable because, ranchers say, there has been a change in command at Fish and Wildlife. “The attitude is exceptionally good compared to what we’re used to,” said Art Steinbeck, a rancher who lives “in the middle of that refuge” and formerly grazed cattle there. The Sneddens, who share 13 miles of common border with Bitter Creek, have a few objections to the management plan rolled out May 17 during an open house in Taft. Concerns include use of prescribed burning, introduction of elk and antelope and pending agreements between USFWS and the Bureau of Land Management that would impinge on more than 5,000 acres of Snedden ranch property.