Thursday, July 21, 2016

Grand Canyon Trust adapting cattle grazing to climate change

A new climate change adaptation plan from the largest grazing leaseholder on the Kaibab National Forest will help the Forest Service accelerate its own work on local climate change goals, according to the forest’s climate change coordinator. The plan, released this week, was created by the nonprofit Grand Canyon Trust, which holds grazing leases on 830,000 acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land north of the Grand Canyon. It calls the area the North Rim Ranches. Since it acquired the grazing permits in 2005, the Trust has practiced conservation-oriented livestock management and promoted collaborative science and restoration on the land. The climate change adaptation plan aims to help the Trust create a more sustainable operation into the future, said Ed Grumbine, land programs director with the Grand Canyon Trust. The document projects that by mid-century, the North Rim Ranches will see up to a 5.6-degree increase in average annual temperature and as much as a 19-millimeter decrease in average annual precipitation. It identifies certain areas and resources most vulnerable to those climate changes and then suggests strategies to help the ecosystem adapt. For land managers on the Kaibab National Forest, the Trust’s plan brings climate change to the “front and center” of the conversation, said Ariel Leonard, the Kaibab’s forest planner and climate change coordinator. The Trust has already begun working on one of the adaptation plan’s recommendations that calls for surveying springs across the landscape and prioritizing them for restoration based on their vulnerability to climate change. Grumbine said other plan-related work he could see happening in the near term would build off the Trusts' previous research about prescribed burning and forest thinning as well as the use of native grass and specific grazing practices to reduce the spread of invasive cheatgrass. The next step, he said would be to use climate modeling to figure out the places most in need of forest treatments or cheatgrass reduction based on their climate change vulnerability...more

The Grand Canyon Trust has long been active in the various buy-out proposals and in acquiring grazing leases.  But what is the real agenda behind this global warming stuff?

The nonprofit’s work also provides an opportunity and an impetus for the Forest Service to test out climate-conscious grazing management strategies for future use on a larger scale, Leonard said...

...Many if not all of the actions proposed in the Trust’s plan require the cooperation of federal agencies, and it's better that way, Grumbine said.Many of the document’s recommendations align with a climate change checkoff list the Kaibab already has developed, Leonard said. That list includes reducing energy and fuel usage and planning projects that anticipate climate change impacts and make ecosystems more resilient to them.What makes the Trusts’ plan unique, however, is that it lays out a specific prescription for climate change adaptation that the local Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management offices have so far failed to develop, Grumbine said. He said he hoped the Trust’s work might provide a model or an impetus for the federal agencies to develop something similar. "I'd like to see it as a spark," he said.

It's a spark alright, designed to use climate change/global warming as the impetus to limit or restrict livestock grazing in the southwest, based upon "climate modeling".   Best be keeping an eye on this one.

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