On the great Slickspot Peppergrass Controversy

Various players reflect on the recent listing of the plant, the ESA, conservationists, and the government-

Slickspot Peppergrass (Lepidium papilliferum) covered in cow flop © Brian Ertz

I think this is a big issue for Governor Otter because the plant grows where a lot of his pals graze.

I wish so much attention was paid to Idaho’s staggering education education system and all the unemployed people.  The plant grows in the least populated county in Idaho (lowest population density).

Endangered species clashes: far from extinct. By Nate Poppino.  Magic Valley Times-News writer



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  1. kt Avatar

    Doesn’t Ken Cole have some great photos of 2009 cattle trampling and manure in slickspots?

    The primary thing the ranchers have done is fought tooth and nail and wasted an inordinate amount of federal and state tax dollars to avoid changing welfare cattle grazing on public lands.

    Seems to me like Larry Craig, now a lobbyist back in DC, is involved in trying to stir this up as part of a renewed effort to attack the ESA.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i’ve got some photos of that trip to jarbidge – will post later

  3. kt Avatar

    There is more I think about this insane Otter reaction to protecting a plant – and that in reality will mean even more federal largesse for any affected welfare rancher – it has Larry Craig’s fingerprints and behind the scenes toetapping all over it.

    You just have to wonder: How much money will Butch Otter waste in fighting something like this – so his cowboy buddies and developer friends can make off like bandits?

    Here’s who else may not like slickspot peppergrass Listing: Idaho Lt. Gov. Little and relatives and their grazing operations and development plans.

    I wonder who all Larry’s clients are? I winder if state funds may be used to further grazing and development schemes of those in high office in Idaho?

  4. Tilly Avatar

    We need a mathematician to do an estimated calculation of how much public land lies beneath cow poop.

    Total # AUMs on public lands in a year * average flops per month = total flops per year?

    Multiply that times a multiplier for how many years flops stay on the land. 3-4?

    Disclaimer: cow math makes my head hurt.

  5. Tilly Avatar

    Forgive me, I forgot to do the critical final multiplier:

    Total flops * average area of flop = total acreage covered.

    Average area of flop: perhaps a square foot? The largest one I have seen was the size of a trash can lid.

  6. Salle Avatar

    And may I add one more factor, the total number of biting/stinging insects generated – that linger long after the cattle have moved on.

    Another I would like to know about is the level or amount ~ not sure how to measure this one but ~ somehow calculate the microbial elements like giardia (sp-?) and other nasties that accompany this substance.

  7. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Ralph – look at the bright side – jobs created or saved for lawyers.

  8. Uta stansburyiana Avatar
    Uta stansburyiana

    Does anyone here know how many public land permittees are directly affected by Slickspot peppergrass listing?
    In how many allottments is the plant present?

  9. JimT Avatar

    yada, yada, yada…

    Ranchers don’t like ANY listings that affect public lands, period. This opposition should come as no big surprise to anyone.

    Maybe there should be a new state motto for Idaho…Cow Pie State..;*)

  10. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Yup – lawyers arguing over cow pies – priceless.


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