Call to Action for Public Lands

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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:09 pm

You don't see anything wrong with the photo? Look again. Where are the native grasses? They have been killed by overgrazing and those grasses will be gone FOREVER. Those grasses are necessary for a myriad of other plant and animals' survival as well. Native grasses (bunchgrass, etc.) evolved alongside ungulates so grazing was part of their evolution, but the ungulates weren't fenced in and forced to eat every blade.

When grazed heavily, native grasses die and opportunistic weeds like cheat grass invade the area and take over the range. This has happened throughout the west. Cheat grass is an exotic from Asia and Europe and was introduced in the 1800's and grows fast and is especially competitive because it grows in the winter and extracts what moisture there is, and so in the springtime there is no water for plants that have been dormant all winter. Rainfall in the west if often less than 10 inches per year and it comes from November to April. Cheat grass grows fast, has poor nutritional value for grazing animals, and it burns extremely hot so it kills other plants that would normally survive any other fire and, because of the fuel load is so large, the fires cover a larger area than in the past.

Actually both sides of the above picture reveal poor grazing practices. And both sides of the fence are BLM lands, but the rancher on one side abused the ground more severely and since there are not enough BLM agents to successfully police every poor grazing practice this is not uncommon. The land on the left is likely ruined forever. You might find chukar in the right hand side of the image because chukar are native to Pakistan and other asian countries and evolved alongside cheat grass and is why they do well in the west. However, you will not find any sage grouse, or sharptail grouse, or other native American game birds on either side of the fence.

These next two images of BLM land are a lot healthier. BLM employs experts in rangeland management to help protect sensitive areas and to set limits for grazing.


Image

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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:51 pm

Bigearl wrote:I don't see anything wrong with that photo. Rancher grazed on one side and you found birds on the other. You both what you wanted that day. Does anyone currently involved in this thread farm for a living? I don't mean have a "hobby farm" either. I'm talking about farming to pay the bills and put food on the table, both yours and your neighbors.


If you have to abuse the land in order to make your living off it then get another occupation is my view, because land lives much longer than a person holding the deed at any point in time.

My wife grew up in Central Ks. For 25 years we went back to the area 12 to 15 times a year. I had hunting privileges across thousands of acres of excellent habitat. Most of it has been destroyed now as the land changed hands and the new owners squeeze every last dollar they can out it. The last straw was a 200 acre native grass pasture the next door neighbor owns which butts up to my wife's family farm. For the 25 years I was on the scene the neighbor grazed it lightly, wintering cows in it and feeding round bales on the ridge tops. The practice of feeding the round bales on the ridges caused the cows hoofs to wear down the native grasses enough that giant ragweed and sunflowers grew up and created nature's food plot for birds, surrounded by healthy tall thick bluestem, gramma, prairie grass and forbs. 4 coveys of bobwhites lived in the brushy fencerows around that pasture. In a poor year for birds I responsibly shot 25 to 30 roosters out that pasture. In the banner years it was between 40 and 50.

The neighbor passed away and his son took over managing the land. Leased it out to a local cattleman who let his cattle grub it completely to the ground. I literally fought back tears when I saw it and no longer go the farm anymore. I cannot bear to look at the extreme abuse that greed has wrought on all the land/habitat which once teamed with wildlife annually.

I am all for preventing that from happening to any land that I have an ownership interest in and that includes Federal land, and land in the state in which I reside.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bigearl » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:24 pm

AG you've crossed over into a brand new arena when you start discussing private lands. Unfortunately with the way both domestic and global markets are today one doesn't have much of a choice but to farm fence line to fence line. The only real profits to be had are in that heavily managed grazing area. Where cattle are rotated and non native forages are used because they simply outperform the native growth. What you call abuse most would call good business. (I'm talking private land only here)

Now Bruce you make some nice points about the native grasses not being able to handle intensive grazing, and being replaced by far less desirable grasses and weeds. Now the BLM already has restrictions on things of that nature correct?
Obviously they can't police every tract and every permit holder. We all know that some people are going to abuse every system out there, however unfortunate it may be.
I have nothing against the BLM changing its approach and wanting to streamline the process of implementing new public land use plans but the current 2.0 rule falls a bit short of being up to snuff. Seems to be some very vague language in certain areas as well as not giving local input the weight it deserves in the planning process.
There is a seeet spot in the middle somewhere that can makes MOST happy. Not everyone will be. Hell its public land. There will always be a small interest group that feels as though they got the short end of the stick, no matter what you do.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:59 pm

Not good business at all. The pasture is damaged and likely will never be able to provide the forage it did before the damage was done. Weeds will rapidly replace what was once a great stand of much more nutritious native grasses. The point is the very observable trend for too many cattle men to overgraze grass, particularly when they are renting it vs owning it. Which fits right with a need for strong oversight of Federal Land or otherwise the same "Good Business" practice will destroy it.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby bhennessy » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:20 am

Yesterday the Outdoor Industry Association decided to pull its annual trade show out of Utah, as they had promised Governor Herbert they would do if he continued to pursue the sale of public lands to the State of Utah. Ops, sorry for the typo, I meant "transfer" of public lands to the state because they certainly don't want to have to pay us for them. This show had been in Utah every year for the past 20 I think.

This association's action followed a conference call with the governor where he offered to set up a commission to study the issue. However, since he apparently would not commit in the meantime to halting the states efforts to get trump to obviate the Bears Ears Monument or the push to transfer public lands to the states they made good on their prior promises to pull the show. Additionally, the company that manages the Interbike trade show (large bike industry trade show) announced that Utah would not be allowed to submit future bids for this major exposition.

I do feel bad for the people and businesses of Utah who will loose the roughly $45 million annual economic impact of the Outdoor Industry show. However this is the natural arc an issue like this should take. Too often business leaders will compromise their core values and interests too easily for the sake of money, politics, special interests, convenience, etc. when it comes time to stand up and be counted. Actions like voting these self serving and venal politicians into office must have consequences.

Ironically Governor Herbert's office released a statement complaining that they felt they were "issued an ultimatum" by the association; if by ultimatum he means he was signaled openly that this would happen by the leaders of REI, Patagonia and North Face, and outright warned of the consequences by the association, then sure...ultimatum. Redefining the word will play with his political base I am sure. I feel like I am being issued an actual ultimatum by Utah when it comes to taking our public lands. I have no choice and no say in the matter.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:25 pm

bhennessy wrote:
Ironically Governor Herbert's office released a statement complaining that they felt they were "issued an ultimatum" by the association


I love how these guys work. Now we get to watch them "modernize" the EPA - their word for what? - getting rid of government regulations? Maybe getting rid of government overreach? I view it as getting rid of environmental protections (which is what it really is).
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bigearl » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:10 am

Bruce Schwartz wrote:
bhennessy wrote:
Ironically Governor Herbert's office released a statement complaining that they felt they were "issued an ultimatum" by the association


I love how these guys work. Now we get to watch them "modernize" the EPA - their word for what? - getting rid of government regulations? Maybe getting rid of government overreach? I view it as getting rid of environmental protections (which is what it really is).


The EPA needs to be changed. It has overreached its bounds time and time again. Case in point, the WOTUS rule...
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Chadwick » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:19 am

The EPA should dump the emission standards for all engines and get rid of the emission rules on power plants. If we get rid of these overbearing regulations, think how much more money the corporations can make. Then they can return those profits to the shareholders. If getting rid of those regulations happens to make demand for their products pick up, the corps might actually hire some new workers. Remember how awesome acid ran was? Or was acid rain just fake news and bad science. Who knows? The best part of getting rid of these regulations is that it allows corporations to privatize more of the profits while dumping the ramifications on to the tax payers.

Now that the coal mining companies can destroy streams to get at coal, that should surely drive demand for coal. If the coal companies don't have to worry about streams that should make producing coal so cheap there is no way the power companies will not use it. Never mind that using natural gas is way easier than coal for the utility companies. Now the marginal coal producers that can keep going until they go out of business through the natural course of economics. When they go out of business, then the tax payers can clean up whatever mess they have created.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby bhennessy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:32 am

As is usually the case Bigearl, geographical perspective influences our opinions. I understand a farmer in MO (for example) may resent WOTUS as unnecessary government intervention, but the shrimp fisherman in Louisiana may welcome it as helping to control the annual Gulf dead zone that is a direct result of the runoff from farms into streams and ditches that feed the Mississippi River.

Do we really think that farmer is going to voluntarily change his practices if changing involves time, money or both? Do we really think the state of MO is going to put in place additional regulation to help those living in other states and downstream who need to make a living too? Or do we throw our hands up and say "tough sh*t" shrimper, find something else to do...I buy frozen shrimp from China anyway".

By definition the states are not philosophically equipped nor do they posses the fortitude to consider interests beyond their owns constituents narrow focus. This is the very reason for the federal government. Fly over Louisiana's vanishing wetland, scarred by endless canals cut for oil exploration and tell me that Louisiana was thinking of the future when those projects were approved years ago?

Perhaps we should still have lead in paint, or gas, or cancer causing chemicals in dry cleaning solvents, DDT in our Bug spray or acid in our rain, to name a very, very few EPA victories. Everyone of the rules that outlawed these really awful polutants was opposed vigorously by industry as unwanted regulation by an EPA run amuck. They were all produced locally somewhere, by someone with a job, yet they were consumed and created great harm nationally.

The states of NY and MA never lifted a finger to regulate GE in the middle of the 20t century when it polluted the Housatonic River and its tributaries with no thought of its downstream users in Connecticut. And did anyone in Arizona consider buying fewer GE appliances because of GE's terrible environmental practices? Of course not. We weren't supposed to fish or even swim in some rivers when I grew up in CT. Only the federal government, through the EPA had the power to force GE to change its ways. Of course GE has been fighting the EPA for years over details of cleaning up the tons of PCBs it dumped directly into the watershed.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/ ... l#comments
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:20 pm

BigEarl: WOTUS increases the reach of the Clean Water Act about 3%, to include wetlands and tributaries of streams that affect the drinking water of 1 out of every 3 Americans. You can’t protect major streams and rivers without protecting their upstream tributaries. It exempts standard agriculture practices.

As an example, two summers ago Toledo, a city of a half million people, could not drink their tap water due to an invasive algae bloom covering parts of Lake Erie. Algae blooms are natural occurrences but this one was caused by high levels of nutrient run off from agribusiness (http://www.mlive.com/environment/index. ... oms_r.html).

The farming industry has labeled WOTUS, as have you, as an example of government overreach but in actuality helps protect us all. As a farmer I endorse it. As a hunter and fisherman I endorse it. As someone who cares about clean water I endorse it. You should as well.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:12 pm

EPA - We need the agency but it is not perfect by a long shot. http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/09/us/colora ... ver-spill/

Unchecked, Gov becomes large arrogant bullies over time and needs to be reminded they work for the people not the other way around. I think the EPA is at that point now.

I also think some revamped form of the EPA is needed, as while I favor Capitalism over all the other economic systems around the world, it cannot be relied upon to take care of the planet and won't.

We are way overdue for some balance to be restored to the EPA, as the Obama administration peddled a great deal of politics as pseudo science and wasted huge sums of Taxpayer money/debt on sham technologies and companies.
Last edited by AverageGuy on Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:16 pm

AverageGuy wrote:I also think some revamped form of the EPA is needed, as while I favor Capitalism over all the other economic systems around the world, it cannot be relied upon to take care of the planet and won't.


which is why we need government supervision over what we would otherwise do to ourselves unchecked. Nobody expects them to be perfect but we do expect them to do stuff in the public's best interest. It's the only protection we have. A balance would be helpful.
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Re: Call to Action for Public Lands

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:23 pm

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