Finally an article in a major newspaper that almost gets it right about rangefires — it’s the cheatgrass! . . . the cheatgrass was

The Cheatgrass Menace. By Christopher Smart. Salt Lake Tribune.

A couple things that next to be emphasized. . . . larger seed banks need to be created and soon because the demand for reseeding outstrips supply, given all the fires.

In the article it says, “Of the more successful strategies, Pellant explained, is to introduce non-native grasses that can outcompete cheat and then seed with native grasses to restore the environment. But once new grasses have been planted, they must be allowed to take root over several years before they can be grazed, or the cheat will return. And there is always pressure to get livestock back on the range.” [emphasis mine]

In addition, they usually do not get around to seeding with native grasses a few years after they have planted these “non-natives that can outcompete cheatgrass.”

If this menace is to be curbed, more than money is needed. There also needs to be the political will to say “no” to ranchers who want start grazing again the second year after a reseeded burn, and there has to be the will to provide money to do a second seeding with the native plants. It is critical we don’t lot politicians use burns to as an excuse for even more abusive grazing practices.

 
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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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