Monday, January 31, 2011

Oregon ranchers fear financial hit from court-ordered loss of grazing territory

Rancher Ken Brooks is standing in his ranch yard near the ghost town of Fox , his eyes sweeping the timber-covered Malheur National Forest that holds the key to his future and that of 18 other Grant County ranching families. "They're all pretty angry," he said. "We're all in the same boat. We're unsure what we're going to do. And most of all, we're unsure of the reason we have to do it." A Dec. 30 ruling by U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty prohibits the ranchers from turning their cattle out on seven summertime U.S. Forest Service grazing allotments to protect threatened Middle Columbia River steelhead. The latest decision in a years-long battle over the effects of grazing on stream habitat bans cows on 16 percent of the 1.7 million-acre forest, which has one the largest grazing programs of any forest in the Pacific Northwest. The ban starts in June and would affect almost 4,000 mother cows and their annual calf crop valued at $2.8 million, ranchers and forest officials said. Environmentalists who filed the steelhead lawsuit said the Forest Service and National Marine Fisheries Service must do a better job enforcing laws to preserve stream banks from roaming cattle. "The court makes clear that the agencies have to make steelhead protection their highest priority," said Brent Fenty , executive director of the 1,400-member Oregon Natural Desert Association...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They can't say they didn't get an early warning this was coming. Now it's here and not going away.
The danger of not getting involved is the lesson for all who are attacked by the moonbat environs.