Rangeland Restoration, Not Grazing Elimination
Supplement to Grazing Series:
By Toni Thayer
The Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared in conjunction with the designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument states that the monument’s setting allows for important issues of study, such as improving land management practices.
It seems only appropriate, then, to consider alternative approaches to rangeland grazing methods and pilot projects to test their success or failure prior to stopping grazing altogether on public lands.
One distinct possibility should be the inclusion of Dan Dagget, the author of “Beyond the Rangeland Conflict” and his new endeavor, Ecoresults. Dagget uses cows, the cattle stomp, and a twist on holistic management to bring back barren land.
According to his website, www.ecoresults.org, ranchers have produced “some of the healthiest riparian areas in the U.S.” and have a multitude of endangered and threatened species moving onto their restored lands after applying his techniques.
Dan doesn’t want to sit in meeting rooms haggling over acres, numbers of cows, and never ending lists of data. He prefers to go out on the land and see for himself, firsthand, its condition.
He challenges the concept of “preservation” and leaving land tracts untouched. “Grasses are made for grazers, and grazers are made grasses. The two go hand-in-hand.”
According to Ecoresults, the fragile cryptobiotic crusts that land managers often preserve are actually symptoms of a dying land and are its last defense mechanism in preventing erosion. Their preferred alternative is to improve the rangeland condition with native grasses to hold soils in place.
Dan’s challenge stands: Give him two tracts of land, side by side. One will remain fallow while he employs his cattle stomp methods on the adjacent tract. After a year, compare both tracts. He says, “The proof is in the pudding. You can see the results for yourself.”
The Nevada Bureau of Land Management is giving Dan an opportunity to show his stuff by restoring the Cedar Mountain Rangeland. Shouldn’t the Utah BLM office be as prudent?
Grazing series and related articles online at: http://www.spirithelps.com/grazing.htm
Toni Thayer email@example.com
P O Box 131 435-826-4663
Escalante, UT 84726
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