Livestock–the elephant in the room when it comes to weeds

The role livestock plays spreading wildlife harming weeds in the Rockies should be obvious-

Livestock–the elephant in the room when it comes to weeds. By George Wuerthner. New West.

– – – – –

My comments:

Weeds are of great harm to ungulates.

Rangeland cattle in particular are culprits. They cause bare patches of soil where weeds get started. They trample the seeds in.  They move them to new places in their cow flops. I took this photo last year and posted it here.  I think it makes the point.



, ,




  1. Virginia Avatar

    Not only the cows. We have all seen the weeds that horses deposit on the various trails on which we hike. Horse packers are guilty of spreading weeds all along the trails – at least where we hike. I am shocked at how they spread the weeds.

  2. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I agree, I really wish there was a better way to enforce the weed free hay laws that the states have, I have noticed in many areas that they are really starting to take over, I know in Montana that darn knap weed is forcing everything else out, even with the threat of being ticketed, people still don’t pay attention..

  3. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    The first time I noted russian knapweed in the Selway area of Idaho was during a hike down Running Creek in the mid 1980s. During the prior 15 years I had not seen it on any of several river trips. Poplations were highest near the private Running Creek Ranch near the confluence of the creek and Selway River.

    The worst invasive weed by far in western Oregon IMO is the Himalayan blackberry. I found a great blue heron trapped and dead in the canes of this obnoxious pest.

  4. Layton Avatar


    Russian Knapweed?? Are you sure?? The big infestations of Knapweed on the Salmon and Selway Rivers – that I know of anyway – are Spotted Knapweed with a bit of Diffuse thrown in. Just FYI, there is mounting evidence that Spotted and Diffuse might be “crossing”.

    Don’t know how far up the Selway (from it’s confluence with the Lochsa) this ranch is, where is it?

    1. Barb Rupers Avatar
      Barb Rupers

      You are right, it was spotted not russion knapweed; the one that is all over western Montana. Running Creek is on the west side of the Selway about 10 miles downstream from the end of the road at Whitecap Creek. This put in place for floating the Selway can be reached via the Bitterroot Valley in Montana or Magrudor Corridor in Idaho.


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox