Photos and video of cattle in the Joseph Creek Wildlife area. Washington State.

The new cattle put into a Washington State Wildlife area are posted as a Google Flash video (please rate the video).

This is an outrage. These areas were purchased to restore wildlife, and salmon and steelhead habitat using your dollars. Now they have been opened to cattle in some kind of shady deal. Get the cows off of Mother Natures face (from song accompanying video)!

Here are still photos, with a detailed analysis of what each shows.

See my earlier story. Another victory for Western Watersheds Project. Cattle turnout on Washington state Wildlife Areas stopped!

Unfortunately, not all of the cattle turnout onto these non-grazed lands was stopped.

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  1. Gulo Avatar

    That is incredible.

    I spend some time in Colorado’s Powderhorn wilderness this past weekend. For the first time I saw what cattle can do to an area. It was completely overgrazed with cowpies everywhere. I have seen farms with less poo. How long would it take for these overgrazed areas to recover if at all?

  2. kt Avatar

    Once you start noticing what cattle can do, you will never look at Western landscapes the same way.

    The streams and springs most starkly tell the tale of the cattle impacts – and recovery in these degraded areas will be very slow.

    But even worse is that once the uplands become infested with weeds like star thistle that thrives and spreads in areas of cattle disturbance, recovery is extraordinary difficult. You just can not eradicate weeds in rugged, wild country – no matter how much herbicide (that will ultimately poison fish waters) you use. Part of the absurdity of this is WDFW (strong-armed by Gov Chris Gregoire’s political agenda) is claiming that cows will magically “control” weeds.

    Here is a link to a report on aquatic surveys – note that though THIS report claims good water quality – that is not the case, and is contradicted by other info on-line.

    This leads to a PDF that discusses part of the “Wild Steelhead Refuge” that WDFW is turning into a welfare cow operation. The welfare cow grazing is occurring for free.

    Contact your elected officials, and tell them Washington state is not deserving of more salmon and steelhead mitigation dollars as long as the Governor continues this love affair with welfare grazing on WDFW lands … in the hopes of getting a couple more votes on the Eastside …

  3. Jerry Black Avatar
    Jerry Black

    These pictures say alot, don’t they? So typical of watersheds throughout Montana where grazing is allowed.
    I realize that taking pictures of fish isn’t the only reason to have a camera with me on the rivers.
    Notice how quiet the livestock group is. Pretty difficult to refute those pictures.

    And if I understand Katie correctly, the cows have only been in there since about April 1, and the area had been rested for 20 years until the Washington governor made some corrupt bargain. These cows are grazing this state wildlife area for free!! It’s an example of a place where cattle just don’t belong and yet there they are. Ralph Maughan

  4. Trout Underground Avatar

    Money for nothing, your grazing rights for free. Impressive how quickly the damage adds up.

    How did this happen?

  5. wolfen Avatar


    In case you have not figured it out. Those in the livesock group you refer to don’t have time to waste with you or others. They do not have all the free time you have to go around looking at what is wrong with our federal, state, and local governments or for that matter, go around and whine about how others are treating the land, whether it be private or public. As I have said before, you guys are obviously not doing anything to help solve the problem but instead preach to the choir. Why don’t you go, Ralph and company go start a weekend travel group where you can go to these ranching communities and talk locally with the ranchers and livestock community. You might have more success there than thinking they are quiet because they do not comment on Ralphs site. I assure you if you go out to the ranching communities you should find the vocal output you are seeking.

  6. be Avatar

    it would be wise for these livestock groups to start paying attention – apparently they don’t have time to ensure that their practices are in accord with the environmental standards of law. as to your comment about whether these folk are not doing anything to help solve the problem – you are very wrong…

  7. wolfen Avatar

    You are correct that the livestock owner needs to start paying more attention to the public lands but what really needs to happen is for those who make the rules and regulatilons enfore stricter laws and enforce the laws with a hefty fine. That will do more than anything else. The laws are lax and those who enforce them are even more lax. Until the laws are enforced with hefty fines, etc. then things would change. Much like the Sundles case how he gets off relatively easily.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I agree about the rules need to be enforced. Everything would go better if the rules were enforced.

    In this particular case, it doesn’t seem to be the rules but the introduction of livestock into a area purchased to restore by means of compensation, the failing steelhead and salmon runs due to the lower Snake River dams.

    The issue is why were the cows let in, and to graze the fish and wildlife area for free? There are some heavy Washington state politics going on, and the Washington Dept. of Wildlife has been told not to say a word about it or else.

    Folks should contact the governor’s office.

    Write Governor Gregoire a Letter:
    Governor Chris Gregoire
    Office of the Governor
    PO Box 40002
    Olympia, WA 98504-0002

    Give Governor Gregoire’s Office a Call:
    Governor’s Office (360) 902-4111

    For relay operators for the deaf or hearing impaired, please dial 7-1-1

    Fax Governor Gregoire a Letter:
    (360) 753-4110

    Go here to send her an email.


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Ralph Maughan