How they do it.

In this 15-minute audio presentation, Mike Hudak explains how ranchers use politicians to intimidate land managers from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management into providing rancher-friendly livestock management that is often detrimental to wildlife. Hudak cites passages from his book Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching that illuminate the topic.

Mike Hudak’s Podcast: Politics Trumps Science in Rangeland Management

Cow flop, beer cans, and cheatgrass.  © Ken Cole

Cow flop, beer cans, and cheatgrass. © Ken Cole (click for larger view)

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign and as a member of the Sierra Club Grazing Core Team.

10 Responses to Mike Hudak's Podcast: Politics Trumps Science in Rangeland Management

  1. avatar jdubya says:

    “”Water will be another area where we will be increasing our emphasis of our management on watersheds. It’s one of the things we’re seeing with the change of climate, the change of streamflow. The importance of our watershed is something that’s very undervalued. “”

    You can say that again.

  2. avatar Maska says:

    This is a good, clear explanation of the political realities behind the mismanagement of grazing on our public lands. It assumes little or no background knowledge of the subject. Thanks for the post, Ken.

  3. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Ken, I think you captured a “cultural” landscape moment more clearly than any I’ve ever seen. Perhaps we should put together a gallery of photographs like this and hold a fundraiser celebrating the western “way of life”, “custom & culture”, “livelihood” and other choice double-speak celebratory phrases.

    Gawd – that was truly a Livestock blown-out wasteland …

  4. avatar Maska says:

    That photo would make a great poster!

  5. avatar jerry b says:

    Just two things missing………a barbed wire fence, and a dead coyote hanging from it.

  6. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I uploaded a larger version of the photo. Click it to see ;-)

  7. avatar kt says:

    Hey – Ken and Brian – Wasn’t that fine photo taken in the Jarbidge landscape. You know, where the U of I is so busily engaged in “studying” the effects of grazing. Funny thing, though, they never find much of anything other than the U of I Range Department’s solution to everything which is cows, cows, and more cows – particularly those livestock owned by Simplot or Senator Bert Brackett and kin.

    We peons just need to shut up – and keep the federal and tax dollars flowing to support this endless U of I range “research” and also to keep Simplot and Brackett on the federal and state taxpayers dole …

    Oh, and about that political pressure bit … alien to that fine Jarbidge landscape, too. Simplot and Brackett never ever exert any political pressure. Like thwarting FWS’s own efforts to List slickspot peppergrass in the early 2000s, or asking Larry Craig, Crapo etc. to get rid of any BLM person who tries to actually follow environmental laws …

  8. avatar DB says:

    The problem is very few are turned off by this scene (so whats an occassional beer can?). I’ve had people tell me how the Camus prairie “must look just like when Lewis and Clark came through.” A “western way of life” gallery of photos is needed. Free audio tapes of Hudak’s spiel, distributed at the borders, public service announcements, billboards (like the anti-meth ads), 24 protection for card-carrying WWP folks, of course.

  9. avatar ChrisH says:

    Maska, I am thinking of sending some copies of the book to our friends in the Springerville Office and an honorary copies to Uncle Bill’s Bar in Reserve!

  10. avatar Maska says:

    Great idea, Chris. Just don’t put your return address on the ones to Uncle Bill’s! :-)

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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