Western Watersheds Project takes a look a grazing conditions in Current Creek in the Owyhee

Video of the condition of Current Creek in the Owyhee.



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    I think WWP inadvertently contradicts its own mission with their litigation that has postponed BLM restoration projects.
    “The Spruce Mountain project proposed the chaining
    and burning of thousands of acres of native Pinyon-
    Juniper forests, including many old growth trees 200 to
    400 years old, in order to increase forage for cattle. The
    BLM was also proposing to install a 90 mile water
    pipeline costing many hundreds of thousands of dollars.” (WWP Watershed Messenger Vol. XIII, No.3 Fall 2006)
    There are other restoration projects that have been postponed on the same basis; they claim the BLM is only trying to increase grazing. However, the BLM has never stated that this is the primary reason for such projects, it is merely an externality. The basis for these projects is to restore habitat, improve watershed quality and reduce the threat of catastrophic fire. The scientifically published causes of pinion juniper expansion are a result of climate changes, fire suppression and GRAZING, though there is no conclusive evidence to quantify to what degree each of these causes has played. So in effect WWP has successfully preserved these effects, one of which is GRAZING.
    WWP is temporally limited in their ideals and goals; they fail to see the big picture. As a result they should have equally limited credibility. As evidence to this in conjunction with the previously mentioned situation I suggest you look at their description for their 432 Greenfire Preserve:
    “The preserve also provides winter habitat for 150 elk, over 2000 whitetail and mule deer, wolves and the remnant White Cloud herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The Preserve also provides year-round habitat for a wild horse band of sixteen horses.”
    Unless they are providing irrigation and fertilization or supplemental feed on this “preserve,” 432 acres does not provide enough production to sustain this number of animals. That puts 4.62 deer and .35 elk on every acre over the course of a winter, with the added impact of horse and sheep I wonder what they are preserving. So either they are not good at counting or they are trying to paint a rosy picture through deception, which may be a fundamental characteristic of this organization.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan