This helps makes up a bit for the bad news on wolves today-
Today, a federal judge reversed the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to allow livestock grazing on 412,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau’s Kingman Field Office. Saying, “Cattle are not ghosts. They are bigger and heavier than any native wildlife,” Administrative Law Judge Andrew Pearlstein admonished the BLM for not sufficiently considering the impacts of cattle grazing on four livestock allotments before issuing the permit.
The judge determined that the BLM failed to justify any economic need for the decision, failed to provide any site-specific information on fences, watering sites and other range developments, failed to consider retiring the area from grazing, and failed to meaningfully analyze the potential environmental impacts of grazing on annual ephemeral vegetation. Western Watersheds Project (WWP) had raised all of these points in its appeal of the decision in October of 2008.
The four allotments – Planet, Primrose, Alamo Crossing, and Crossman Peak- have not been grazed for 18 to 25 years. The area includes two federally-designated Wildernesses, the Bill Williams River, and habitat for desert tortoise, bald eagle, and bighorn sheep. Additionally, hundreds of archeological sites have been recorded within the allotments. The region receives just 3 to 7 inches of rain a year and summer temperatures reach near 110 degrees.
“We’re pleased that the Judge recognized the detrimental effect of livestock on soils, vegetation, and riparian areas. It is great that such a large expanse of desert will continue to be spared those impacts,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona Director of Western Watersheds Project. “It’s also a good reminder to the Arizona BLM that they have a statutory obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act to take a hard look at their proposed actions.”
Western Watersheds Project works throughout the west to restore watersheds and wildlife. http://www.westernwatersheds.org/
Judge Pearlstein’s Order can be found at WWP’s web site at this URL: http://www.westernwatersheds.org/legal/09/az/alj_kingman_decision.pdf