Monday, February 09, 2009

Oregon ranchers sue Forest Service in dispute over grazing

A ranching couple in Dayville, who last summer was forced by a federal court to stop grazing cattle on a Malheur National Forest parcel, is now suing the U.S. Forest Service, stating the agency needs to do something about the wild horses in the area. The federal lawsuit is the latest step in a dispute over which animals — and how many of them — should be allowed in the Murderers Creek area southwest of John Day. And the ranchers say the Forest Service needs to cut the number of wild horses on the Malheur National Forest by about half to comply with the agency’s own standards. For years, Loren and Piper Stout have grazed cattle on a parcel of Forest Service land in the Murderers Creek area. But as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Bend-based Oregon Natural Desert Association, a federal judge issued an injunction in 2008 stating the Stouts could not graze cattle in the area while he considered the case. “For a small family ranch like that, that was pretty devastating,” Scott Horngren, the Stouts’ attorney, said previously. The Oregon Natural Desert Association has been working on the issue since 2003, said staff attorney Dave Becker. Its goal is to get the Forest Service and other agencies to study the impact of grazing on Murderers Creek, a tributary of the John Day River that is important habitat for steelhead, he said. Steelhead are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act...

Update: For a more thorough coverage of the issue see Wild horses, elk threaten to overcrowd rangelands

1 comment:

dr john said...

Several years ago the county commissioners in a Colorado county in the area of Rangely Colorado. could be Montezuma county passed a resolution stating the number of wild horses they felt was enough in this county. As I recall the BLM was forced to reduce the number of horses to the number that the commissioners stated in the resolution. This may help those folks in Oregon. I feel that in most cases the county commissioners are not used enough to help out in these situations. At least that is my experience when I was one of them.