Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Forest Service cuts grazing

Cattle grazing on Lower Hermosa Creek will have fewer days to fatten up under new rules adopted by the San Juan Public Lands Center. The new adaptive management strategies that restrict cattle grazing - announced May 28 - were not made lightly, said Rowdy Wood, range land management specialist for the Columbine Ranger district. The 122,000-acre area north of Durango includes the Dutch Creek, Elbert Creek and Upper Hermosa grazing allotments. About 900 cattle are permitted to graze on the three allotments annually, Wood said. According to the report, it found the effect of cattle grazing on the landscape hurt the natural resources of the area and was affecting the Canadian lynx habitat and other wildlife. The ranchers who use the land plan to appeal the final decision, said Phil Craig, whose cattle graze in the Dutch Creek area. He said the 25-day cut won't make a difference about how it affects the land, but even a 10-day cut at the beginning of the season hurts the summer hay production. "The reason the permits are there is so we can raise the hay in the summertime," he said. The earlier you start growing, the more production of hay you get for the winter, he said. "If you graze those fields off for a week to 10 days, you really won't get the quantity of hay you need for the winter," Craig said...DurangoHeraldNews

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