Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Owyhee County facing grazing reductions

The Bureau of Land Management is restricting grazing on allotments in Owyhee County after a federal judge's ruling in a lawsuit over sage grouse habitat. The Idaho Statesman reports the ruling in the case between environmental group Western Watersheds Project and the BLM means cutbacks for three of four allotments in the region, reducing the number of cattle that can graze the land and limiting the amount of time the cattle can graze. The announcement Monday angered ranchers, who said the cuts could put them out of business. Owyhee County rancher Kelly Aberasturi was so mad at the grazing cutbacks that he had to briefly leave the county courtroom in Murphy where the meeting was being held. "This really ticks me off," Aberasturi said as he went to cool off. He returned later as BLM Owyhee field office manager Loretta Chandler explained the cuts, which range from 35 percent to 47 percent in the three allotments. "What do you expect these people to do?" said Aberasturi, who is also a county commissioner. "This will put them out of business." BLM's Boise District manager, Jim Fincher, said the agency didn't have a choice if it wants to satisfy U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill. Ranchers have 15 days to protest Monday's decision...more

No comments: