This is a big laugh, but does have important info about Bundy’s rangeland harm-

For those who don’t want to discuss rangeland, wildlife, trespassing cattle, rare animals like tortoises, or Cliven Bundy’s damage to the public land, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is an impossible to ignore target. After all Senator Reid lives in Nevada like Cliven Bundy and he likes solar power. Does that make a connection? Of course not. However, a large number of solar farms are being built on the Nevada desert, often to the dismay of the Wildlife News. We have not been happy how these massive capital investments totally squash out any wildlife within their expansive site boundaries. These farms are real land eaters.

Mitigation for wildlife damage-

There is some feeble effort to try to mitigate the damage to wildlife. Some of it is near the sites of these bird-roasting solar mirrors. This is called “primary mitigation.” Some is makeup in a place distant to the solar power site. This is called “secondary mitigation.”  Wildlife mitigation is things like planting grass and forbs wildlife need or like, development of new water sources for wildlife to drink, another is restoration of rangeland overgrazed by cattle, e.g., such as Cliven Bundy’s illegal grazing on a big piece of public land managed (in principle at least) by the BLM.

The aborted cattle roundup and the BLM’s missing web page-

Just before the roundup of Bundy’s cattle plus other miscellaneous feral cattle began, the BLM put up a web page listing Bundy’s harms. We thought it was really interesting and important. I linked to it in a story about the roundup. Then the link disappeared. This has become a “critical” missing link for those who want to tar Harry Reid rather than write about the marred beauty of the Gold Butte area where the illegal cattle eke out a living in the hot desert.

Fortunately, several days ago Ken Cole pulled the missing BLM page out of the Google Cache. I made it into a pdf file residing on our computer so that it won’t disappear again. Here it is. Northeast Clark County Cattle Trespass.

Here is most of it as text:

Examples of Recent Incidents of Private Property Damage Caused by Bundy’s Trespass Cattle

  • One feral cow was hit by an automobile within Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Cattle are frequently seen on public
    roads, including State Route 170 and pose a danger to vehicles and to members of the public traveling on public roads.
  • Overton Wildlife Refuge (State of Nevada) employee attacked by a Bundy bull.
  • Crop destroyed by Bundy cattle on private land.
  • Mesquite Heritage Community Garden damaged by trespass cattle.
  • Mesquite golf course damaged by trespass cattle.

Examples of Restoration Funding and Viability Impacted

  • A $400,000 matching grant to restore Southwest Willow Flycatcher habitat along the Virgin River from the Walton Family
    Foundation was withdrawn until the trespass cattle have been removed.
  • A $160,000 Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act project to restore Southwestern Willow Flycatcher has been delayed until trespass cattle are removed.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle. [boldface is ours]
  • The Nevada State Department of Wildlife has built extensive fences to protect state and federal lands protected as the Overton Wildlife Refuge from the trespass cattle.

Examples of Public Concerns

  • Residents of the communities of Bunkerville and Mesquite have complained about the impact of cattle on city facilities. Within the last month, letters requesting action have also been received from several individuals, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Friends of Gold Butte and Friends of Joshua Tree Forest.
  • The Center for Biological Diversity has demanded action to resolve trespass in designated critical desert tortoise habitat in several letters. Western Watersheds has requested a verbal status update and later filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

Examples of Natural and Cultural Resource Damage

  • Cattle have crushed artifacts at the “Red Racer” and St. Thomas cultural sites.
  • Damage to springs, including fecal contamination, trampling soils and vegetation and impacts to wildlife. Wildlife will avoid
    springs with large numbers of cattle.
  • Damage to springs with sensitive amphibians, including the rare relict leopard frog.
  • Multiple instances of vegetation damage to rare plants, including on monitoring plots after extensive wildfires within critical
    habitat for Desert Tortoise.
  • Unauthorized reservoir constructed with bulldozer twice.

Where is the Reid connection? Those who see it insist that it is hidden in the point we boldfaced:

Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.

This is bureaucratic language but all it means is that private groups like the Western Watersheds Project,  Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Friends of Gold Butte and Friends of Joshua Tree Forest don’t think the solar power damage elsewhere can be mitigated here at Gold Butte because the damn cattle will tromp all over it and shit on it.

Yes, but, but, but are not then Bundy’s cattle stopping the solar projects that Harry Reid wants so much? Of course not. They are gleefully ripping up the desert anyway without wildlife mitigation near Gold Butte.

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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.

21 Responses to Here is the “notorious” missing BLM page connecting to Harry Reid (not)

  1. avatar Reno Gal says:

    Nevada has been pushing for solar power in the southern desert regions of the state for almost two decades. Now that we know that the Koch Brothers (big oil) and their American Prosperity group are being some of the noise being made about #BundyRanch, it’s not surprising that they are casting blame on Senator Reid who has been supportive of the wishes and dreams of Nevada Power and other big power companies to deliver a wealth of solar energy into the southwestern grid.

    • avatar Reno Gal says:

      ooops sorry, meant “are behind some of the”

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      But it’s all wasted – we consume way too much energy and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the environment. What about when these places need to expand? It’s constant upheaval for the environment, whether it’s in the middle of the Nevada desert or Nantucket Sound. Our leadership isn’t truthful either. It is all rather absurd, isn’t it. I’m boo-hoo’ing over the property damage. A garden and a car accident.

  2. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Paul Watson’s take on this issue……………..
    Captain Paul Watson
    April 12
    Welfare Ranching Show Down in Nevada

    There is a silly little drama going on in Nevada and the Neo Cons, the militias and the welfare ranchers would have us believe there is another Waco about to happen.

    For some strange reason I am on the Conservative Daily mailing list. I think they confused the word “conservation” with the word “conservative.”

    Joe Otto who I assume speaks for the Conservative Daily sent me this message today (below) and I could not resist responding to it.

    It’s all about a rancher named Cliven Bundy who has not paid his grazing fees since 1990 and is now upset that the government has come to collect over two decades in back fees.

    You see, Cliven believes that he has every right to graze his cows free of charge on public land. It’s called welfare ranching and they believe their “right” to feed at the public trough trumps the right of endangered species to exist.

    So I decided to inject my comments into Otto’s somewhat hysterical letter defending Cliven and his fellow welfare ranchers from the tyranny of Obama. You see when anything happens they don’t agree with, Obama is always at fault, and Obama is especially at fault when the thing the Neo Cons are upset with is something initiated by one of the two former Bush Presidents like this particular case.

    Anyhow, this is Otto’s letter with my comments.

    Dear Conservative, (PW: You mean dear conservationist Otto. You were addressing me I think.)

    By now you have probably heard about the crisis surrounding the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. In case you haven’t, here is the basic synopsis.

    (PW: Yes the Fox Network has their undies in a knot over this, which means it is hardly a major story elsewhere.)

    Cliven Bundy is a cattle rancher whose family has lived near Bunkerville, NV for the last 140 years. The Bundy family’s cattle have always grazed on what had always been state-owned, public land. In 1993, the Federal Government discovered that Bundy’s grazing area was also home to the endangered Desert Tortoise. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) swooped in and took over control of the land. In order to dissuade farmers and ranchers from using the land and threatening the tortoise population, the BLM instituted a policy where ranchers would be forced to pay a grazing fee before using the land.

    (PW: Let me see, the Bundy family has lived on the land for 140 years and the desert turtle has lived there for hundreds of thousands of years. The Bundy family took their land by force from Native Americans but the turtles were there even before the Native Americans. In 1993, the government did not discover that the grazing area was home to the turtle. They knew that. What they discovered was that the turtle was endangered and one probable cause was over-grazing by rancher Bundy’s cows.)

    For Cliven Bundy, this was an unacceptable affront to his livelihood. His family has lived off this land for over a century, long before the creation of the BLM, and the idea that he would now have to pay a tax to protect a turtle was nothing short of absurd.

    (PW: To the turtles it is an unacceptable affront to their right to survive as a species. Rancher Bundy believes the turtle’s right to survive is absurd yet he believes he has a God-given right to graze his cattle for profit at public expense. It is also not a tax but a grazing fee. In exchange for the fee, Bundy gets to graze his cattle. Bundy wants free food for his cows at public expense. In other words he wants welfare.)

    So, Bundy refused to pay the tax. He allowed his cattle to graze on the land and didn’t pay the federal government a dime to do it. Why should he? The land is technically state-owned public land, yet the federal government want’s a cut because of an endangered turtle. Well, after twenty years of court battles, the Bureau of Land Management has finally swooped in and begun confiscating Bundy’s cattle at gunpoint to pay the $1.1 million that he owes in back “grazing fees” for using public land! This is absurd and should be a wake-up call to everyone! The government doesn’t care about common sense or decency… these militarized agencies and bureaus will use every law, regulation, and technicality to come after YOU with the full weight of the Federal government!

    (PW: The law assessed a fee and rancher Bundy refused to pay the fee for over two decades and now he seems surprised that the government has called to collect back fees. Otto states the land is state owned and public but somehow rancher Bundy has a right to use it free of charge. Bundy owes back fees and the government is collecting those back fees by the confiscation of the cattle that Bundy has been raising at the expense of the public. It’s a classic case of welfare ranching where the rancher believes he is entitled to have his animals raised for slaughter at public expense. I hope the government does use every law, regulations and technicality to collect the back fees and to protect the right of the turtles to survive.)

    Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

    (PW: I intend to tell Congress in the words “Good on you for defending the turtles and enforcing the grazing fees.”

    How despicable is this… The federal government is seizing a rancher’s cattle because he didn’t pay a $1.1 Million “grazing fee” that was set up to protect a damn turtle! Anyone with half a brain can see that this is ludicrous… yet the government continues to wage its war on Cliven Bundy and proceeds to seize his cattle at gunpoint.

    (PW: If anyone else does not pay their bills, they forfeit their property. Why should ranchers be exempt and above the law. Why should the public support Cliven’s damn cows? Why do his damn cows have more rights than the desert tortoise? The government is not waging war on Bundy, they are simply enforcing the law. Personally I disapproved of the fee myself. He should have been banned completely from grazing his cows on the land occupied by an endangered species.”)

    I’ve said it before: It is absolutely ridiculous that we have so many militarized, non-law enforcement agencies in government. Agencies like the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the IRS, and even the Bureau of Land Management have been arming themselves to the teeth for years.

    (PW: I’ve never seen an armed IRS agent, That would be scary, hell they are scary enough unarmed. I have certainly never seen an armed member of the Department of Education but considering all the school shootings, that might not be a bad idea. A law has been broken and it is being enforced. Pretty damn straight forward to me.)

    Now, the full weight of the government has come down on the Bundy ranch. There are snipers watching the family’s movements, armed agents rounding up cattle, and the BLM has effectively made the whole area a “constitution free zone,” or at least that’s what they want it to be. The land is public land on a public road. Yet, anyone who wants to protest the government’s tyrannical actions is limited to doing so within a preset “First Amendment Zone” set up by government officials.

    (PW: Can someone tell me where in the Constitution it says that ranchers have the right to graze for free on public land? The land as Otto says is public land on a public road. It is not Clive Bundy’s land. It is however turtle land. Thank you United States government for defending our endangered turtles. As for snipers, the fact is with dozens of trigger happy militia nut bars in camo, armed to the teeth, the deployment of snipers seems like a reasonable response. I admit the First Amendment zone is unacceptable but by order of the Governor of Nevada it has been taken down.)

    That is ridiculous, and the protesters have fanned out, taking their frustration directly to the federal agents. In the last two days, one protester has been tackled to the ground and another has been shot with a stun gun. Now, militias from around the country have been mobilized and are beginning to arrive in Nevada to defend the ranch from this clearly tyrannical action. One county official warned the “inbred” militiamen (his words, not mine) from neighboring Utah that if they come to Cliven Bundy’s aid, then they “better have funeral plans.”

    (PW: Oh no not the Mormons!!! I hope this is not another Mountain Meadow Massacre. It is amazing to see so many ultra conservatives ready to rise up and die to defend welfare rights for ranchers. Oh the tyranny of collecting unpaid bills.)

    How despicable is that? Rather than defend the local rancher against the government thugs, the local Clark County Commissioner is actually threatening people if they show up to help him!

    (PW: Yes I would imagine that the Clark County Commissioner would be opposing mob rule. When a bunch of wild eyed men in camo arrive with heavy weaponry it is reasonable for the County Commissioner to condemn their invasion of his county.)

    I pray to God that there isn’t bloodshed. I really hope that the Federal government realizes that they are waging this war over nothing but a damn turtle and pull back. I mean, think about it… people could actually die over a dispute over cattle grazing on a turtle sanctuary… What on earth is this world coming to?

    (PW: It is a world where human greed is eradicating endangered species and diminishing biodiversity. Otto you said it yourself, it’s a turtle sanctuary. It seems to me that people would be making a decision to risk dying for some damn cow. I think the turtle is much more deserving, after all it is a sanctuary for turtles. This is not a dispute over a turtle anyhow, it is a dispute over the fact that a welfare rancher has refused to pay his grazing bill.)

    The fact remains that this is just one of the latest attempts for the Federal government to use loopholes to seize property for the “common good.” There is a case in Colorado where a couple’s mountain cabin is being seized and demolished to create “open space.” The government is actually using eminent domain to seize a piece of property just to create more open space.

    (PW: If you build a cabin on public land you don’t have rights to the land just because you built the cabin. People have seized too much open space for their own use and by doing so they deprive nature of open space for wildlife. Nature needs more open spaces, more turtles and fewer cows.)

    Rather than using common sense and restraint, the Federal government looks for every opportunity to come down hard on average citizens! This has to stop!

    (PW: If citizens are a threat to the survival of an endangered species they should be stopped. Welfare ranchers are not average citizens, they are people who have grown rich at the public expense.)

    The government shouldn’t be allowed to levy $1.1 Million fines on hard working Americans because their family’s ranch’s historical grazing grounds are now occupied by an endangered turtle! Americans from across the country shouldn’t have to mobilize in order to fend off tyrannical government agents!

    (PW: It is not a fine, it’s a grazing fee, a fee that rancher Bundy has refused to pay for over two decades. Bundy’s lands are not now being occupied by an endangered turtle. The turtle’s land is being occupied by Bundy’s cattle.)

    What if the government came into your home or business and threatened you because of a technicality or nonsense regulation? Things like this happen every day across America because we have given the Executive branch and its numerous agencies too much power over our lives!

    (PW: When the U.S. Court and the IRS came after us for defending whales they were acting on the request of the Japanese whalers, I did not see many conservatives defending our rights to defend the whales. No most of them were defending the “right” of Japanese whalers to use American courts to stop American whale defenders.)

    The Obama administration wouldn’t even send in one soldier to protect our ambassador in Benghazi, but it has sent in over 200 agents to harass a rancher in Nevada! This is despicable! The time has come to rein in these out of control, militarized government agencies. Congress must put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

    (PW) Wow, they actually managed to fit Libya into their rant. That’s a stretch. The law removing free grazing rights came under the George H. Bush administration, not Obama.)

    Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

    I will tell them in the words of George W. Bush, “Go get ‘em boys.” We need to put an end to Welfare ranching.

    Joe Otto
    Conservative Daily

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:


      Every time the story goes through another analysis by some conspiracy theorist it becomes more simple to understand because the truth of the statements has been made even less so that conspiracy point can be made.

    • avatar sleepy says:

      Actually, IRS special agents do carry weapons. Revenue officers–the folks that do audits and the like–don’t.

      Normally, if there is an IRS seizure of property on site–as opposed to a levy seizing a bank account–a special agent will be there. They don’t go in with guns drawn, but will have them.

  3. avatar skyrim says:

    Thanks Jerry. Glad to see folks of his profile coming forward with their thoughts. It’s going to take a lot more of this kind of attention to make this right.

  4. avatar Lyn McCormick says:

    Ralph, why did this issue languish with the BLM for so long ? Couldn’t they just go gather up the feral unbranded cattle without taking in SWAT Teams ? And, then, when Bundy gathers his cattle to go to market have a lien in place? All of this should have been done a long time ago! Let him be the one to threaten with armed force first. The whole militaristic thing is what got everyone so worked up.

    • avatar Lyn McCormick says:

      I mean, this kind of martial law stuff is happening all the time. Like at the WH&B rally in DC in 2010. For over 40 years the WH&B advocacy has only EVER demonstrated peaceful law-abiding efforts to effect positive constructive change in the way BLM has been managing the range, managing WH&B, managing for multi-use but with clear bias. DOI could have at least had a representative come outside to accept the Petition and maybe have an impromptu Press conference. Instead, we get armed guards with guns pointed at us & threats.

    • avatar Annie West says:

      Thank you Lyn! I hope your thoughts turn into a conversation. Your question should be sent to BLM as an outline on how to proceed. What you have turned your attention too is one of the most constructive ideas I’ve seen. Carry on.

  5. avatar jon says:

    These anti-government right wing militia wackos are dangerous and should be classified as terrorists.

  6. avatar Maska says:

    Thanks to Ken Cole for ferreting out the missing BLM page. Its sudden disappearance is suspicious, to say the least.

  7. avatar Cynthia says:

    Both of your articles were most informative. I live in Georgia and knew nothing of the way things are handled in Nevada. Thank you sooooooo much for taking the time to explain it and to all the commenters as they were a great help in getting me to understand this situation. You guys are simply great and I shall be sharing this information far and wide. Both this one and the one saying that Clive has no right to graze his cows. The way you disseminated the legitimacy was awesome. Again, thank you.

  8. avatar Jo Thomas says:

    I don’t find the “missing” BLM page at all suspicious–because the whole solar array issue is dead and HAS been dead for a while. I believe it was removed for the simple reason that the paragraph about offsite mitigation at Gold Butte was no long pertinent and it probably went unnoticed until someone went digging around in BLM websites–and pointed it out to them. I’ve seen PLENTY of outdated pages by government agencies that are still up on the internet. When this document was first written, the array was still a possibility, most likely–now it is not. Dead project–out of date website. So they took it down. No mystery, no conspiracy. Unless of course you see a boogie man under EVER bush and in every action.

  9. avatar Charles Reid says:

    Great information. Regardless of the action of the Nevada Ranchers involved, where is the outrage over the federal government killing, maiming, and injuring the innocent cows. Why are animal rights group so silent? What a waste of money by the BLM in rounding up the cows and returning
    some of the survivors.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Charles Reid,

      Of course, you are assuming that the cattle were really harmed. Many believe that Bundy is not a reliable source. Then too roundups in rough country are not easy on cattle. Third, who is to say that these little watched or cared for cattle were not injured already?

      • avatar Michal says:

        Cattle are tough creatures immune to starvation, lightning, cactus, holes in the ground, illness and birth problems . . . the ONLY thing that is responsible for cattle deaths is predation by wolves . . . whether or not there are wolves within a 500 mile radius is immaterial. Wolves.
        So sayeth the cattle ranchers in my state and others. However in this case, if they manage to get a story started on Faux News that tortoises attack cattle, all the better!


April 2014
« Mar   May »


‎"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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