Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Rectify the Heavy Impact

grazing allotment damage


22 November 2017
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.Washington DC 20240
Dear President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Zinke:
Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 555(e), we, the American people and the undersigned organizations representing
them, petition you to minimize the impact of livestock grazing on federal public lands, including but not
limited to national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands, to address ecological problems
caused by commercial livestock grazing. Ecological problems are occurring in instances where:
● livestock grazing displaces wildlife, reduces wildlife populations through competition for forage,
or degrades wildlife habitats;
● degradation is occurring to the land (for example, erosion or soil compaction);
● transmission of pathogens is occurring from livestock to wildlife populations;
● degradation is occurring to plant communities;
● native wildlife are killed to advance the interests of public lands ranchers;
● livestock are damaging to sensitive wetlands or riparian areas; or
● damage is occurring to streams and aquatic habitats for sensitive fishes and amphibians.
● Ruminant grazing contributes to the nitrogen load in streams as well as nitrous oxide gasses also
a greenhouse gas.
With this petition, we seek reductions in the numbers of commercial livestock on public lands that are
sufficient to prevent further damage to native ecosystems, and allow the recovery of currently degraded
lands to a natural state. On some lands which evolved in the absence of large grazers, such as the
low-elevation shrubsteppes and deserts of the Great Basin, where soil productivity is dependent on
fragile biological soil crusts, the appropriate maximum stocking rate for commercial livestock may be
Poorly managed livestock can cause dustbowl effects through overgrazing. Removal of native grasses
and trampling and compaction of soils paves the way for invasive weeds such as cheatgrass, which burn
with unnatural frequency and convert native desert and shrubsteppe vegetation to cheatgrass
monocultures of no habitat value to wildlife. This increase in range fires and the cheatgrass invasion that
follows in their wake cannot be successfully stemmed or reversed through the construction of
fuelbreaks or an increase in direct attack. In an increasingly flammable West, firefighters have a poor
record of extinguishing all ignitions. Furthermore, during windy, drought conditions when large fires are
most likely to occur, fires commonly spot a mile or more ahead of the flame front, even leaping
interstate highways and major rivers. It is necessary to stop ignoring the root cause of this cycle of
cheatgrass and fire – the domestic livestock that spread cheatgrass seeds and destroy the native
perennial bunchgrasses and biological soil crusts that are nature’s best defense against cheatgrass
Commercial livestock grazing on public lands is a taxpayer-subsidized program that costs the American
people not only the loss of the quality of our public lands and waters, but also loss of wildlife.
The subsidies for livestock grazing outweigh the fees collected for public lands grazing by approx $1.4
billion annually. (based on Bureau of Land Management 2014 income from Grazing program and 2013
Subsidies) So there is no financial advantage for the nation to underwrite subsidies for this program, but
setting these important limitations would have a positive impact on our budget, because it would
reduce many of the subsidies to be paid.
We also pay for an agency whose only mission is to deal with predators of livestock, which creates
population issues of cervids and other animals. So limitations would also remove the need for Wildlife
Services, and saving a further $100 million annually.
This would also remove the migratory problems and injuries we see with fencing. Reopening migratory
routes will help keep some species off the ESA list. Injuries to special status species like the greater sage
grouse would be greatly reduced by removing fences and limiting grazing in any areas of critical
Cattle grazing on public lands in the western states is putting a domestic species adapted to moist,
northern European ecosystems into an arid environment where they are ill-suited to survive. As a
result, cattle concentrate along streamsides, springs, wetlands, and lakeshores that under natural
circumstances are oases of biodiversity with rich and productive vegetation communities, but under
heavy grazing and trampling become denuded and degraded. This damage results in the loss or
reduction of the large majority of native wildlife that depend on rich riparian habitats for some or all of
their life cycles; notable among such species are rare jumping mice, sage-grouse, songbirds, and beavers
which are the ecological keystone of western stream systems. We also see a serious decline in water
sources or riparian areas due to the lingering nature of livestock near water sources in this type of
climate, and the habit of defecating in those waters.
Livestock grazing also has devastating impacts on stream and river systems, and the fishes and other
aquatic life that they support. Bank trampling by cattle breaks down overhanging banks that under
natural conditions provide shade and cover for fishes, and convert stream profiles from deep and
narrow to wide and shallow. This, together with the removal of overhanging natural vegetation and the
resulting loss of shade raises water temperatures, often to levels outside the thermal tolerance zones of
native trout and salmon. Cattle concentrating along, and wallowing in, streams and rivers results in
radical increases in erosion and siltation, turning crystalline waters into turbid flows, and smothering
trout and salmon spawning gravels with silt.
Domestic sheep cause additional problems by transmitting pathogens which induce deadly pneumonia
in wild bighorn sheep. Pneumonia outbreaks commonly result in losses of 30 to 70% of an affected
bighorn herd, with total mortality and local extirpation occurring in some instances. Following a
pneumonia outbreak, lambs born to surviving ewes typically die shortly after weaning, resulting in
depressed recruitment rates which may inhibit herd growth for years to follow. Despite decades of
translocation and restoration efforts to reverse the effects of a precipitous crash in which an estimated
98% of all bighorn sheep were lost, populations Westwide remain at less than 5% of historic numbers.
Disease events resulting from contact with domestic sheep are the primary limiting factor in the
recovery of this iconic native species.
In summary, by limiting the livestock in areas of conflict or degradation you can: save money, save
wildlife, and save the value of our lands and water.
Respectfully yours,
Theresa J Barbour
UVOTE Coalition
PO Box 115
Drain OR 97435

Signing on behalf of:
Erik Molvar
Executive Director
Western Watersheds Project
Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
Jeanne Brummet
Unified Voices of the Eagle (UVOTE) Coalition
Public Lands, Truth Campaign, Director
Kathleen Hayden
Coyote Canyon Caballos d’Anza Inc
Michele Anderson
Heber Wild Horses Freedom Preservation Alliance
Kirk Robinson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Western Wildlife Conservancy
Shelley Silbert
Executive Director
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Val Cecama-Hogsett
Executive Director
National Wild Horse & Burro Administration


Patricia Herman

Roger Dobson
Protect The Wolves™
A Native American Group
Nancy Hilding
Prairie Hills Audubon Society
Christina Marie Anderson
Paws Across America Advocacy
Sandi Claypool
Monero Mustangs
Patience O’Dowd
Wild Horse Observers Association
Jen Howe
Wild Horses of Southern Utah
Mr. Ara Marderosian
Sequoia ForestKeeper®
Mike Garrity
Executive Director
Alliance for the Wild Rockies
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director
Project Coyote
Christine Blackwell
Hang a Halter
Manda Kailmian
The Cana Foundation
Amy Hanchey
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association
Cc: Members of Congress

As Northwest States Kill Wolves, Research Casts Doubt On Whether It Works .


protect the wolves, protect washingtons wolves

Its not Rocket Science, Martorello has proven Dr Wielgus Study Correct. Killing wolves one year only leads to more depredation the following year, ODFW have seen the same problem and have helped to prove the study accurate. When will our Wildlife Managers begin to manage wildlife in the best interest of the Public and not the Rancher.

Northwest states have struck a compromise between preserving wolves and preventing livestock damage. Scientific evidence suggests it’s an approach that will fail both wolf survival and ranchers.

The long hunt finally paid off on the night of Aug. 6 for two employees of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They’d spent a combined 85 hours and driven 752 miles in pursuit of the Harl Butte wolf pack in the northeast corner of the state.

They had already come close, spotting wolves twice but never firing a shot.

But finally, on a Saturday evening, they killed a young male. Two days later, a Fish and Wildlife employee fired a kill shot from a helicopter while patrolling the rolling forests and pastures. This time it was a young female.

The wolf-killing mission was meant to halt a pack that was helping itself to ranchers’ livestock.

It won’t work, thought Todd Nash. He and other local ranchers wanted the whole pack gone.

“If there was a gang in downtown Portland and there was 13 of them and you randomly took two, you didn’t know if they were the ringleaders or what they were … would you expect to have a positive outcome?” Nash said.

It turned out Nash was right; it didn’t work.

Weeks later, some of the Harl Butte pack’s surviving wolves tore into a 450-pound calf. It was found dead in a pasture Nash leases, with bite marks across its legs, flanks and hocks.

So Oregon wildlife officials killed two more wolves. Weeks later, they said the depredations had stopped.

They hadn’t. The Harl Butte pack struck again in late September, killing a 425-pound calf.

As the number of wolves in Oregon and Washington has grown, wildlife managers are increasingly turning toward lethal tactics to keep them away from ranchers’ livestock. State governments in the Northwest now spend tens of thousands of dollars to kill wolves that prey on cattle and sheep.

Northwest Wolf Populations

The number of wolves has grown rapidly since they first returned to Northwest states. As their numbers grow, the likelihood increases of encounters with cattle and sheep.

State wolf managers are walking a tightrope: growing and sustaining a population of wolves while limiting the loss of livestock for the ranchers who make their living where the predators now roam.

Managing wolves in the West is as much about politics, economics and emotion as it is about science.

“Sometimes you view it as being between a rock and a hard place, or being yelled at from both sides,” said Derek Broman, carnivore and furbearer coordinator for Oregon Fish and Wildlife. “I like to say it’s balance.”

To balance the costs of killing wolves, ecological needs and the concerns of ranchers and advocates, it’s the policy of both Oregon and Washington to kill wolves incrementally — one or two at a time. But in making that compromise between preserving wolves and preventing livestock damage, they’ve taken a course of action that scientific evidence suggests could achieve neither.

Policies and practices in both states go against a growing body of research casting doubt on the overall effectiveness of killing predators.

Neither state follows recent recommendations from top researchers that their efforts to control predators be conducted as well-designed scientific studies. And neither follows the primary recommendation from the research most often used as evidence, which found killing most or all of a pack is the most effective form of “lethal control” to reduce ranchers’ damages.

Instead, some scientists and advocates say, Oregon and Washington are risking harm to the Northwest’s wolf population without ever reducing predation on cattle and sheep.

“Oregon and Washington may be playing with fire in their incremental control approach,” said professor Adrian Treves, who founded the Carnivore Coexistence Lab at the University of Wisconsin. “Not only is there very little evidence for the effectiveness of lethal methods, but there are more studies that find counterproductive effects of lethal control, namely that you get higher livestock losses afterward.”

Northwest wildlife managers say they use lethal control, in part, to increase people’s willingness to tolerate wolves. Treves said there’s little data to support that it’s actually helping shape public opinion to accept wolf reintroduction. In fact, Treves has published research suggesting otherwise: that government-sanctioned killing of wolves may actually embolden individuals to illegally do the same.

Policies under scrutiny

In 2016, Treves was part of a team that published a paper concluding common methods of both lethal and non-lethal predator control were sorely lacking the support of gold-standard scientific evidence. Since 2016, three other papers — independent of each other — found strikingly similar results.

He and others have called on governments to re-evaluate their predator control policies. Treves was also one of multiple scientists who filed comments with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, saying his research and others’ had been misinterpreted in the state’s revision of its wolf management plan, which Treves and others criticized for being biased in favor of lethal control.

“It’s just like (when) the government is putting a medicine out there; it needs to prove the medicine is effective,” Treves said. “ Because there are costs. And not just financial. Animals are dying.”

Lethal control policies in both Oregon and Washington are getting pushback from wolf advocates.

In Oregon, multiple groups have called on Gov. Kate Brown’s office to intervene. The governor’s office has not publicly responded and did not respond to requests for comment.

In Washington, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit in September claiming the state’s approach to killing wolves is unnecessary and that its protocols do not satisfy Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act.

Donny Martorello, wolf coordinator for Washington Fish and Wildlife, said the state has seen mixed success with lethal control.

“We’ve had situations where we’ve initiated lethal removal and had to stay with it for quite a period of time. Removing more and more wolves because the conflict kept going and going and going,” he said. In other cases, he said, it seemed to work well.

Martorello said the decision to kill wolves to is not about decreasing long-term livestock losses. It’s about intervening in an escalating situation, where prevention has failed and a rancher’s cattle or sheep are dying.

“We turn to lethal control as a last resort,” Martorello said. “When we remove wolves it is trying to change the behavior of wolves in that period of time. We can’t extend that to say that will prevent negative wolf-livestock interactions in the long term. Because it doesn’t.”

In its lethal control protocol, WDFW cites a paper from Michigan saying the “the act of attempting to lethally remove wolves may result in meeting the goal of changing the behavior of the pack.”

However, that study’s authors do not make claims about changing behavior, and attribute any lower recurrence of attacks on livestock to the increase in human activity nearby — not anything specific to lethal control.

That study also  found no correlation between killing a high number of wolves and a reduction in livestock depredation the following year.

Instead, it found the opposite: “Our analyses of localized farm clusters showed that as more wolves were killed one year, the depredations increased the following year.”

Source: As Northwest States Kill Wolves, Research Casts Doubt On Whether It Works . News | OPB

Wolves Know How to Work Together – Why Can’t People

protect the wolves

It is saddening that people do not come together for the preservation of our Wildlife the same way that Wolves have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are capable of working together as 1.

Dogs have evolved to be friendly and tolerant of humans and one another, which might suggest they would be good at cooperative tasks.

Wolves are known to cooperate in hunting and even in raising one another’s pups, but they can seem pretty intolerant of one another when they are snapping and growling around a kill.

So researchers at the Wolf Science Center at the University of Vienna decided to compare the performance of wolves and dogs on a classic behavioral test.

To get a food treat, two animals have to pull ropes attached to different ends of a tray. The trick is that they have to pull both ropes at the same time. Chimps, parrots, rooks and elephants have all succeeded at the task.

When Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Friederike Range and colleagues put wolves and dogs to the test, wolves did very well and dogs very poorly. In recordings of the experiments, the pairs of wolves look like experts, while the dogs seem, well, adorable and confused.

The researchers reported their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

With no training, five of seven wolf pairs succeeded in mastering the task at least once. Only one of eight dog pairs did.

With individual training intended to show the animals that if both ropes were held in the mouth, they could get the treat, three of four wolf pairs succeeded multiple times. Two of six dog pairs succeeded — once.

Dr. Marshall-Pescini said both wolves and dogs were raised in exactly the same conditions at the center, where they live in groups with a lot of human contact but are not kept as pets. The reason for wolves performing much better, she said, might be that in the wild they must cooperate in bringing down big game and sharing it if they are to survive.

Dogs, whether they are free-ranging, foraging at garbage dumps or looking for discarded food, don’t need teamwork.

But defining tolerance, which is supposed to aid cooperation, is tricky.

“Wolves argue a lot around food,” she said. “But in the end they eat together.” As for dogs, she said, “They don’t even argue about it.” An earlier study of free-ranging dogs, she said, showed that the dominant dog ate first and other dogs waited.

Of course, pet dogs often eat together with two bowls. And dogs can be trained to do just about anything; even the act of training may change their ability to cooperate.

In a previous study, dogs that had been highly trained — not at the rope pull test, but for other tasks — were much better able to succeed at the rope pull.

Source: Wolves Know How to Work Together – The New York Times

OSP investigating wolf poaching incident in Wallowa County 

protect oregon wolves, protect the wolves

Wallowa County has joined the late spate of illegal wolf killings. On Nov. 17, the Oregon State Police announced that OR-23, a collared wolf, was found shot in the Chesnimnus Springs area. The wolf was a breeding female and a member of the Shamrock Pack, formerly known as the Chesnimnus pack.

Two wolves in the Klamath Falls area were recently killed, OR-25 and OR-33. The species is listed as endangered in the area. In late October, a hunter also killed a wolf in self-defense in Union County.

OR-23 started as a member of the Ukiah Pack before dispersing to northern Wallowa County sometime in 2014 where it paired with a male wolf. In April 2017, OR-23 was documented as having four surviving pups.

Environmental groups have blamed the killings on recent delisting of wolves in northeastern Oregon, which they say has desensitized the public to the plight of wolves.

“Wolves in Oregon are being gunned down maliciously after wildlife officials prematurely removed state-level protections for these misunderstood animals,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Whatever you think of wolves, poaching is wrong and cowardly.”

Oregon State Police is investigating the killing and asking for the public’s help.

“Poaching of fish and wildlife, including wolves, is a problem in Oregon and will be vigorously investigated by the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division,” said Captain Jeff Samuels.

The ODFW is also asking the public to step up.

“We are upset and frustrated by the unlawful wolf killings in Oregon,” said Doug Cottam, the agency’s Wildlife Division Administrator. “Poaching of any wildlife is wrong and harmful to their conservation. Please, if you know something about any of these cases, step forward and provide information to OSP, which can be done anonymously.”

Source: OSP investigating wolf poaching incident in Wallowa County – Local News – Wallowa County Chieftain

Protect The Wolves

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