Otter, other governors declare war on cheatgrass. They want 500 volunteers to help collect native seeds, so threatened areas can be replanted. Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker.

Controlling cheatgrass is absolutely critical. If they don’t have enough native seed, they need to encourage the production of native grass and forbs for seed as an agricultural crop. This could be a new agricultural activity for these states and one relatively benign.

The dangers are that the cheatgrass fire cycle is already too advanced, and, probably more likely, is that the objectives will always be in danger for being changed into cow welfare rather than wildfire reduction — planting the wrong species (including exotics and cultivars), grazing the new growth too early, keeping cattle on areas that will always be unsuitable for cattle grazing, building fences that hinder or stop wildlife migration.

Cattle grazing could disappear on much of this cheatgrass country with no macroeconomic impact. In fact, it is already much reduced because of the unsuitability of cheatgrass as forage except for the short period before it starts to develop seeds.

Photo: cheatgrass monoculture

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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.

9 Responses to Idaho's Governor Otter, other governors declare war on cheatgrass

  1. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Getting rid of cows is a necessary prerequisite for getting rid of cheatgrass.

  2. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I hope they don’t decide to plant other non-native grasses just for cattle.

  3. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    They will.

  4. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    this is where the land-grants will be working overdrive on the alchemy of “fuel removal”.

  5. avatar Layton says:

    Lots of bitching and moaning about what “they” are doing or not doing and about how “they” aren’t doing it right. Then there’s finger pointing (ad nauseum) about how “they” are keeping cows on the range.

    What would happen if some of this spirit got translated into getting off the computer and getting sagebrush seed??

    Before you even ask —- yes, I have.

    Layton

  6. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Actually, much of my off computer spirit is directed toward getting cows off public lands, which gives greater strategic bang for the buck.

  7. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    the best way to ensure sagebrush/native seed is to get livestock off public lands thereby ensuring native seeds’ prevalence and vigor – contiguous seed-banks. and yes, i too spend “off computer” time engaged in the pursuit.

  8. avatar Layton says:

    To each his own I guess — maybe that’s why when I go out on some of the seed gathering, winter browse planting, wildlife study expeditions that I go on in the winter , the only people that I see are those nasty consumptive guys/gals — you know the ones they call hunters/fishermen.

    All the “other” folk are spending their “off computer” time in pursuit of getting cows off the range —- yep, I get it. That must be where they are when it’s time to open the wallets too!!

    Sorry, must be a bad hair day. 8^(

    Layton

  9. avatar JB says:

    Layton,

    Research indicates that, in recent years, activism has taken on new forms (See Inglehart and Welzel’s (2005) Modernization, cultural change, and democracy : the human development sequence). More and more people choose to donate to organizations, write letters to congressman, and generally, participate from home (i.e. over the internet) rather than in person. These people are just as likely to open their wallets, they just choose to give their money to different organizations–specifically, those that they feel represent their interests. As people here have different interests than you do (generally, the preservation of carnivores), it shouldn’t not come as a surprise to hear that they give money to organizations such as the Center for Biological Diversity, Sinapu, or Defenders of Wildlife, as opposed to the local rod and gun club, or Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (so hard not to say “some”).

    At any rate, your insinuation that they are not doing anything for their cause (in general) and wildlife (specifically) simply doesn’t hold water. You need only look to all of the court battles that these organizations have won that promote the preservation of threatened and endangered species.

    JB

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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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