Charred and scarred. Ranchers blame grazing rules for fire’s huge size. By Matt Christensen. Times-News writer.

This story features none other than Idaho State House of Representatives Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, of whom KT has written.

Brackett is correct that the grazing rules led to the size of the fire, but in exactly the wrong way. The grazing rules have led to cheatgrass. The cheatgrass burns, killing the much less fire tolerant native grasses. Then the BLM reseeds with the wrong mixture of grass seed, such as non-native crested wheatgrass and various cultivars of native and non-native grasses. The the BLM doesn’t give time for even their poorly suited mixture to take hold before cows are dumped back on the grazing allotment. Of course, this leads to more cheatgrass.

Cheatgrass grows so fast and ripens so fast that no amount of livestock grazing can put a dent into it. Once the seed head develops, cattle and sheep won’t eat it unless they are to become dead livestock.

Therefore, it’s incorrect for Brackett to say there hasn’t there hasn’t been enough grazing unless he knows about voracious cows that will each thoroughly graze about a thousand acres of unripe cheatgrass a day (or cows that eat ripe cheatgrass!)

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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