Oh, what a comparison!
Last October a number of us visited the Lost River Ranger District in an area called Pine Creek. We went with the district ranger and the Supervisory Range Conservationist. It was pretty embarrassing. Some of the awful photos went up on Google Earth. End of 2007 grazing season in an unnamed tributary called “Pine Creek.”
I guess it wasn’t embarrassing enough because this year things were as bad or worse.
End of the 2008 grazing season with 90% forage eaten by cattle on Lost River Ranger District. Salmon-Challis National Forest. Photo Western Watersheds Project
I can post a bunch more if people are interested.
Later. Folks did want to see more-
Here is what a wet meadow/riparian area should look like in similar country. I took this photo in early October about 20 miles from the photo above on an Idaho state grazing lease acquired by the Western Watersheds Project after a many year battle with the State Land Board. WWP removed all the livestock.
Wet meadow/streamside area in Lake Creek. Herd Creek Highlands. Central Idaho. Early October 2008. Not grazed for about 4 years. The grazing lease is held by the Western Watersheds Project. WWP pays to run cattle lease, but doesn
More on Pine Creek –
Livestock have trampled the banks of Pine Creek and defecated in its waters. Sediment from Pine Creek drains into Bull Trout habitat.
Over-browsing along banks (riparian) of Pine Creek leave soils unstable. Water events of spring will erode these unprotected soils lowering the channel beyond reach of willow and other riparian plants. Water is shed from this system much faster as the moisture retaining soils, plants, and 'S' (sinuosity) shape of the reach is pounded away by cattle. The system supports far fewer wildlife numbers than it once had.