Public land, locked up

In the Rocky Mountain West, more than 4 million acres of federal public land are rendered off-limits because there's no way for the public to access them.

  • "There is no direct public access to the North Fork Wilderness Study Area" in Wyoming, according to the BLM website. But, if you can get permission to cross the surrounding private land, "The WSA offers outstanding opportunities for the user to experience primitive recreation."

    EcoFlight
 

In the Rocky Mountain West, more than 4 million acres of federal public land are effectively off-limits – simply because there's no legal way to access them. The nonpartisan Center for Western Priorities, a Denver-based think tank, recently used GIS mapping to quantify such "shuttered" public lands, mostly managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Western lands have long had a patchwork of owners: federal, state, local, tribal and private. In the late 1800s, the federal government gave railroad companies every other square mile along rail corridors, creating a public-private checkerboard. But because it's illegal to even step across a corner from one public parcel to another, many remain inaccessible. Others are marooned in a sea of private property with no right of way. Some landowners even illegally close public roads across their holdings.

Congress has tried to tackle these problems, but 2011's "Making Public Lands Public Act" failed to pass. The HUNT Act, introduced in September, would improve hunting and recreation access. One crucial source for buying easements and other private land is the Land and Water Conservation Fund – but Congress usually gives it considerably less than half of the $900 million in energy royalties it's allocated.

Frederick Alt
Frederick Alt
Dec 10, 2013 04:59 PM
This situation is a travesty and should be corrected. Having lived in Montana and can testify that many ranches enjoy their own private/public land that only they can access. Some of these lands are prime elk habitat where they can offer guaranteed hunting to all of their crony buddies. Call your Congressman and complain.
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 10, 2013 05:50 PM
Private landowners that have incredible ,forever ,permanently set and Subsidized grazing allotments on our public lands that do not grant public easements to public lands, should lose their right to these public land allotments.
W. Fred Sanders
W. Fred Sanders
Dec 12, 2013 04:13 AM
Some public lands have not been even clearly identified and have been grazed continually without authorization.
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Dec 12, 2013 08:26 PM
     All three of the previous writers have identified the biggest problem affecting public lands -- welfare ranching. However, allowing more access will only add to the ecological abuse of these lands unless the ranching stops.
Robb Cadwell
Robb Cadwell Subscriber
Dec 13, 2013 09:42 PM
Today it was announced in the Denver Post that Ken Salazar and Louise Bacon both of whom should be familiar (ex sec int and gazillionaire) were teaming up to form a PAC to donate money to candidates who strongly support fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund the idea being to use the funds to access those lands that belong to us but are inaccessible. http://blogs.denverpost.com/[…]/
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 14, 2013 10:12 AM
Can anyone tell me why ranchers who have leases to graze public lands, get to keep those leases for the most part forever? They are not put up for a fair bidding process. And private ranchers have to pay over twenty dollars a AUM when leasing grazing land, and can make a profit, yet public grazers pay a tiny fee, that never goes up.The BLM personnel that oversee grazing on our lands tell me they do not then have the money to monitor the range conditions.Often the land is grazed so hard, there is little or nothing left for nature or wildlife.
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 14, 2013 10:34 AM
Often we here of the radical environmentalist.What about the radical ranchers.Virtually all of our BLM public lands are grazed by cattle.Our National Forests lands grazed, National grasslands, Wildlife Refuges, even our Wilderness areas, and scenic wild rivers, literally the only public land not grazed by cattle for profit, our National Parks. Is that not radical? where is the balance?Not much left for nature and wildlife, and then we wonder why species are declining.Lost of habitat is just not development, or farming, but also overgrazing.We need some land not grazed, and some not grazed as hard, that wildlife have left for them, only one percent of the North American prairie is not farmed or grazed.
Steve Laster
Steve Laster Subscriber
Dec 15, 2013 07:27 AM
I own property that borders several thousand acres of national forest, and along with my neighbors control the road that leads into this area. Not only are these public lands used for grazing, there are also opportunities for recreation such as hunting, mountain biking, camping, and hiking. We allow public access into this area, but are also aware that the public in general are basically clueless when it comes to land ethics, and HCN articles can verify this. Dogs shot because someone thought it was a wolf, indiscriminate shooting which leaves damaged signs and broken glass, Boy Scouts defacing natural features, ATV use in sensitive areas, and poached big game, toilet paper, etc., beside the road. The worst time for us is during the hot days of summer when all it takes is some idiot shooting fireworks, or a drunken group's unattended fire to destroy the entire watershed.

 The public uses our public lands, and in return we get trash and more noxious weeds.

We take exception to the bad rap given to ranchers, because it's this user who exhibits the most responsible use of the land. The grazing permittee makes sure the fences are in good repair, clears deadfall from hiking trails, regularly distributes cattle to ensure proper grazing, actively participates through funding and labor in our weed control program, and regularly communicates with us on the general state of affairs on the forest. He's the steward, and he pays for his use. The rest of the public just uses it.

From time to time my neighbors and I consider closing our road to protect the public land from the public. And frankly, with the kind of anti-grazing sentiment that we all hear and read about, along with all the other impacts the public can create, I can't blame responsible ranchers for keeping the public out of public lands adjacent to their homes. I don't know what Ed Abbey would do if he and his likes were given access to public lands, but Aldo Leopold said " A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community".


Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 15, 2013 09:31 AM
Steve; I understand in some areas the public use can negatively impact our lands.If they do,and break the rules, then they should pay a fine.Do you have a public land grazing lease? What do you pay for a AUM?What is your definition of a good land steward? Of overgrazing? Do you think that every rancher is a good steward?or that overgrazing ever happens on our public land? If overgrazing does occurs Do you think that it also negatively impacts the land and wildlife, when there is no grass left, for wildlife, as nesting cover, or even as a food source.What should the penalty be for that impact?I have been to public meetings about listing the sage grouse.The public land rancher inevitably blames the problem on everything ,and everybody else.And feels he should not have to change his impact or grazing operation at all. Is that fair or realistic?
Steve Laster
Steve Laster Subscriber
Dec 16, 2013 06:58 AM
Kirk,
I do not have a grazing permit, but rather am a former federal grazing specialist with 30 years of experience in managing western public lands.  I could write volumes in answering your thoughtful questions.  However, they are not necessarily germane to an article about locked up public lands, and I choose not to answer them in this forum.  
Yet the topics you bring up are huge, let alone hot,  and there are lots of intelligent folks expressing similar concerns.  I have found over the years that these same people , though intelligent, are not necessarily educated in public land management.  
I encourage all of you, rather than depending on agenda-driven publications and closed minded discussions, to read the science based literature.  Talk to agency specialists about your specific area, as well as the land users.  Learn to take your concerns to a level and fair playing field, and you'll be amazed at the progress that can be made.
The public lands are in trouble these days, but not from what you think.  The agencies have been crippled from inside and out in their ability to make good and timely land management decisions.  And the only good land stewards I know of, and there are many, those who have been in place for generations, are now unwelcome.  
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 16, 2013 05:56 PM
Steve: I agree with what you say. I am trying to get the science, and talk to the experts in range management, wildlife biology, the history of the Taylor grazing act. Found out the fee payed on public lands is 1.35 a AUM , that subject alone could be debated for days. To say the least things are very complicated and complex. I speak for The constituency of nature and wildlife, which seems to take the back seat. When all else fails, the last argument is what's more important a sage grouse or people.There is so much mis-imformation, bias , money interests, and Denial. The facts are, the science is ,species are declining, many threatened, and for the most part it is man caused, and his "taking" of habitat, plowing "to much" of the prairie to mono -cultures, and grazing the rest of the prairies to much. A prairie indicator species our prairie grouse are all declining, gone from much of their range. We seem to not be able to "tell people what to do on their own land". They can destroy it for wildlife if they want, it's their right, if not smart or sustainable . But to me our last hope is to try and manage our public land better for wildlife , often when I talk to ranchers , being a good steward of the land, the word wildlife doesn't even come into their Vocabulary or concern for what they need. Often making the most money off the cows and range is the goal , Unfortunately to the direct deterrent of and the welfare of the "publics wildlife".Changing minds and cultures of the land , that it is only for Individual profits comes incredibly slowly.
Tom Darnell
Tom Darnell Subscriber
Dec 17, 2013 02:47 PM
From 1995 to 2012 US taxpayers generously paid Montana farmers and ranchers $6.59 BILLION in various farm subsidy payments. For the same period Wyoming farmers and ranchers received $758 million in Federal payments. Taxpayers have paid out, for CRP payments, more than the value of some of the land. It would have been cheaper to have bought out the land and put it in the public domain. Besides the CRP payments farmers and ranchers are able to lease out the land for additional income.

Why not require farmers and ranchers receiving Federal payments to allow access to public land surrounded by their private property? If this isn't acceptable they could decline the Federal payments.
Deb Dedon
Deb Dedon Subscriber
Dec 18, 2013 03:34 PM
Like most other folks, ranchers and farmers are a mixed bag, some responsible, some not so much. I would expect that ranchers/farmers with deep roots on particular land, and with an eye to their own futures, make good stewards. The contrast would be ranchers/farmers and other users who have little vested interest in preservation and conservation of a wild asset such as public land.

It's a wheat versus chaff situation.
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 19, 2013 10:03 AM
Our economic model tells people the more money you make, the more successful you are. Even a better farmer or rancher you are. More cows on the range or more bushels of corn ,means more profit.Unfortunately that model directly means less habitat and less wildlife.The farmers and ranchers I talk to, wildlife does not even come into their picture of a good steward.There is no money in having habitat left for wildlife.It is a privilege to graze your cows on public land not your right.Yet when I go to town hall meetings, the rancher seems to believe he is entitled to his public grazing rights.When I talk to BLM personnel about the condition of the range, I find out they do not have the manpower to check the land.Most are lucky to be check once in ten years.Lets raise the grazing fee to the industry norm, from what they pay now about a 1.35 a AUM, to what a private rancher charges over 20.00 a AUM. This would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the BLM, which then could hire people to actually monitor the health of the range. We then could give the rancher discounts off the AUM price if you want , to reward them for grazing in a well managed way, for wildlife, and diversity of species on his allotment.The more prairie dog towns, sage and sharptail grouse he had on the land, he would pay a cheaper AUM price.Now that would put a 'value' on our wildlife the rancher could understand.
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Dec 21, 2013 09:29 PM
Dear Mr. Hohenberger: It's actually a little worse than you describe. Unless things have changed recently, National Park lands are grazed by domestic livestock. I don't have the complete list handy, but I remember that Dinosaur N.M. and Mesa Verde N.P. have (or had) grazing leases.
     Also, "wildlife" is a common topic in public meetings and news media among ag producers, but mostly in the negative. How to get rid of wildlife and how to avoid the restrictions of the Endangered Species Act are the biggest subjects. Obscure legal and legislative developments during the 1980s and beyond allow complete subversion of the ESA as needed through such surrogates as Habitat Conservation Plans. The results of these vague conservation programs usually conserve agriculture rather than wildlife and amount to little more than another ag subsidy.
     Agriculture, especially livestock ag, is by far the main reason for the decline of the sage grouse (and many other species). It requires very little "science" to support that proposition. "Science" is very political. The science of how to most efficiently graze livestock is institutionally acceptable in land management agencies, but the science of conservation biology and restoration biology are taboo.
     Ag land is not wildlife habitat, no matter how many times that is repeated in the media. It is propaganda intended to pacify under-informed environmentalists. Wildlife exist on ag land despite agriculture not because of it.
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 22, 2013 09:35 AM
Thanks Larry for your comments . The Great Plains , this amazing prairie is the most endangered ecosystem in North America . Only one percent protected. When we were in the frame of mind to altruistically give back, and preserve some of America's environments, we kinda forgot about the prairie . Look at the Serengeti in Africa. Why did we over look the plains, why is it amber waves of grain, and not big blue stem? Is it to late to change this oversight?We wonder why species are Disappearing when only one percent of their habitat is left?Starting in the southern plains, The Atwater prairie chicken is almost gone, less then a hundred left in the wild. Millions of acres of the Coastal prairie gone, they are confined to a two thousand acre preserve. And a captive breeding program to keep them from going extinct . Farther north the lessor prairie chicken will probably be listed as threatened . Farther north the greater prairie chicken is gone from all of its historic range, except for the flint hills and sand hills in Kansas and Nebraska . Only left there because farmers can not plow these hills . In the high plains the sage grouse has lost probably half of its habitat, sage brush, plowed for crops, and what is left has to much cattle grazing, they may be listed soon. The last prairie grouse the sharptail is gone for the most part in states like Washington , and will lose millions of acres of CRP grass habitat, as farmers plow this grass to black dirt , and plant mono- cultures of grains, that is the Route cause of impacts to the prairie .Eighty percent of crops grown in Montana are not for Americans , fifty percent of the Agriculture in America is not for Americans.As Tom mentioned , we have spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars, to pay farmers not to farm, we could use this money to purchase prairie for reserves and habitat from willing sellers .We need to preserve a Minimum percent of habitats, maybe twenty percent of all ecosystems, that are Enough for healthy viable populations of wildlife.Otherwise we will end up Micro managing every Species with captive breeding projects, and living in Glorified out door zoos.
Steve Laster
Steve Laster Subscriber
Dec 22, 2013 11:31 AM
Readers, please pardon this response which deviates from the topic of locked up public lands, but Mr. Bullock's comments about agriculture, wildlife habitat, and national parks are worthy of attention.  As Mr.  Bullock points out, agricultural land (in of itself) is not wildlife habitat.  
However, I've eaten many fat, corn-fed deer, hunted plenty of game birds in and around grain fields, and annually apply for elk permits that allow hunting adjacent to alfalfa fields.  
Many wildlife species require "edge" habitat, that zone between two vegetation types where one side provides cover for concealment, and the other (cropland) provides food.  Small mammals and songbirds abound along dense fence rows between crops and pastures.
On the  public rangeland I've observed sage grouse turning over cow pies to get at the insect larvae growing there, and have watched grouse drink at livestock water developments alongside cattle.  I've seen them bring their broods onto grazed meadows to pick insects from the wild flowers.  I have examined burrowing owl holes ringed with cow dung which insulates the burrow and masks the owl scent from predators.  Antelope and geese commonly loaf in grazed pastures as this openness affords protection from predators.    The list goes on.  
Depending on the species, habitat needs are well met by a variety, or mosaic,  of vegetation types within the population area. We should manage wildlife habitat and agriculture for diversity rather than monotype, depending on specific needs.  Good agricultural and proper grazing management can make for some great wildlife habitat and healthy populations.  And good public relations to boot!
And as far as agriculture (grazing) in national parks is concerned -  if the activity is within the park's resource objectives then I'm for it.  If not then other management actions should be considered.
NOTE: If readers would acquaint themselves with the   Upper Green River Basin Sage-Grouse Conservation  Plan, May 24, 2007, they would find Mr. Bullock's comment about declining sage grouse a bit misleading.  
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 22, 2013 12:51 PM
Steve, i agree with what you have said.There can be some wildlife around agriculture lands. The problem seems to be we are not managing enough of the land for wildlife.what we are doing, and have been doing,shows it is not working ,or we are doing to much of it,having to much impact.the prairie grouse and other prairie birds are declining. they are the indicator species as to the health of the prairie. We deserve a D-minus grade there.So how do we fix this?The status quo, does not seem to be working well for most wildlife.Yes you can have some wildlife around agriculture lands, but as you mention near other good habitat, what you call edge habitat. We do not even have enough of that left in many places.I was recently in Iowa, they are plowing up the last tiny bit of edge cover, taking down the barbed wire fences, so they can plow this last strip of grass to plant corn. They do leave a strip of grass in small drawls to keep the dirt from running when it rains, good but then they mow this strip for the cows to eat. So it is the incredible amount and extent of the farming and grazing that is the problem.As i flew home at twenty five thousand feet over Iowa and looked down for a hour at five hundred miles a hour, for the whole hour all i saw was black dirt, waiting to become a mono-culture of corn.This is where farming is not good for nature, it is actually farming a war against nature. The farmer wants only one species of plant growing, nature wants diversity, he kills all other plants with herbicides, thus no diversity of life, or bugs, then birds, or animals. There are not many bugs, because only one type of plant, if there are he kills them also.Multiply this type of farming the whole state of Iowa, and hundreds of millions of acres in the rest of the great plains, and you can not see a problem , a problem for wildlife, and even eventually ourselves, this is not sustainably, and something is really wrong. This is wrong, it is greed, and not caring about nothing else but making the most money you can.We have taken to much, and we need to realize this fact, and try and give back some. We also need some 'wild prairie' just for wilds sake. We have no prairie designated Wilderness areas in America, like we do for the mountains and forests, we should do this, it is not to late, we could change and learn from the excesses of our greed, and maybe learn to love the prairie for what it was, and a small piece could return, if not to have to show our kids what it use to look like before man and 'progress came'.
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Dec 22, 2013 03:02 PM
Steve what is the cause of wildlife and species decline?Many would say hunters or predators.Not true, maybe a hundred years ago, with guns, and no wildlife seasons, and bag limits. Today our Fish and Game departments do a good job.The science now says its lost of habitat. Well in the west there are not a lot of people, so development can not be the answer. So what is the problem? How can you fix the problem if we will not admit what it is? On the great plains its to much farming and to much grazing. There i have said it, what is politically incorrect. Farmers are good, they feed us right. I agree, i eat also. But how they farm, and being a good steward should mean caring, about something else besides the maximum profit, maybe leaving something for nature, maybe the barometer of a good steward would not be the most profit, but also the most diversity of life on your property.That would be a different culture then what i see now in the farm belt.What bothers me is the misinformation thats out there, which hinders us from moving forward. The perception is the farmer/rancher is a good steward. But we have not even defined what that means. If it does mean caring about nature and wildlife, i have not found that to be true.I live on a two hundred acre grass ranch in montana, i have chose not to graze the dry land prairie for the last twenty years. In montana we live in a desert , the previous owner lease the acreage out for income, and put to many cows on it , all that was left was dirt and nothing else. Since then the grass is tall, it is allowed to actually mature and go to seed, providing food, and nesting cover for grouse and other birds. There is a pond, that is not trampled by to many cows, which allows willows, and cottonwood seedlings to take hold and grow, providing more habitat, one of two blue grosbeaks being sited here in the state.Sharptail grouse came back, to look and find tall grass to hide in and nest in, in april. To further give back to wildlife i asked my wheat farmer neighbor if i could pay him to leave a few acres of wheat standing for wildlife, he thought i was nuts, and cut it. Then a couple years ago the chemical company's started pushing roundup herbicides to the farmers.Now they spray and kill every living plant for a twenty month period nothing grows on the land. 0nly for about three months out of a two year period does anything grow,then only a mono-culture of wheat. Then when they combine and cut it, they use to at least leave the stubble with some left over grain through the winter, which was some food and cover for the birds that stayed though the winter. Now they knock down the stubble and cover up that habitat and food sourse. The grouse are gone. When i talked to my neighbor about my concerns, and wildlife, he did not care.He called me a leaf licker. Now that is the real reality of farmers and ranchers caring and stewardship.I have nothing against them personally, they are good people. But as a society this is what we are promoting. The bottom dollar and nothing else matters. We could change that model, from making the most money and yield, to doing whats sustainable, good for nature, and producing more nutritious food, not just the cheapest, and what makes us the most money,and actually live with nature, have a few weeds, yes the costs would go up, but the benefits would be great and sustainable, we are not paying now the true costs of what we are doing,we are even killing the soil with the chemicals, let alone the wildlife, and maybe also slowly poisoning ourselves.We could farm organically and sustainably and still feed americans, is it smart and our responsibility to try and feed the world as we destroy ours?
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Dec 23, 2013 11:53 AM
     Sure, edge species are not threatened; it’s all edge. It’s everything else that is threatened – interior species, predators, free ranging bison, prairie dogs (and their dependent species), wildflowers, amphibians, native snails, migratory routes, salmon runs . . . Certainly, various game animals and birds live among livestock excrement, crops, and infrastructure; they have no choice in the agricultural monotype.
     Other edge species (exotics, rodents, grasshoppers) are annihilated with public subsidies as their populations surge to pestilential proportions in biologically impoverished ag & range lands. Ecological ruin is the price of maintaining huge surpluses of ag commodities, which is the reason for large ag exports. The public pays for this with state and federal trade delegations to foreign countries to market this excess.
     Regional and national livestock associations haven’t convinced foreign countries to lower their food-quality standards, so they get the best. Lower quality commodities remain in the U.S. Periodically, the federal gov’t buys tens of millions of pounds of surplus ground beef (an agricultural waste product) to support the industry. It is dumped on our public schools, which can’t afford to pass up a bargain.
     Rural schools are notoriously poor because they have insufficient tax base. They are surrounded by minimally taxed ranchlands, another public cost which biases land use and creates more surplus. Ag favoritism and subsidy negatively affect all of society and nature.
     This discussion is eminently relevant to public land access. Nearly all federal and state public land is devoted to the overproduction of livestock with considerable subsidies. This single use detracts from every other use. Preserving public lands for a shrinking number of species and natural processes that cannot tolerate human activity is a better use than recreation or production of excess livestock. Until current abuses end, further access to public land should be denied.
     Mr. Hohenberger: "All in all, the nation’s farmland has turned into a death trap for grassland birds." – Dave Mayfield, military reporter for the Virginian-Pilot [“A Farewell to Arms”; "onearth" (formerly "The Amicus Journal"), publication of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Fall 2001; vol. 23, no. 3; p. 29]
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Dec 26, 2013 07:42 PM
     I have read much of the “Upper Green River Basin Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan” (May 24, 2007) as suggested. It is similar to many other documents of its type. Livestock interests are overrepresented in the group of “stakeholders” responsible for the document. Two wildlife or resource related corporations are also represented. The oil and gas industry, though represented, probably received more than its share of the blame for Sage-Grouse endangerment.
     This is exactly the type of plan that has replaced the ESA. It says so in its purpose statement: “for the purpose of improving sage-grouse numbers and precluding the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act.” It has dozens of recommended management practices that seem good, but it’s all voluntary. It has no teeth like the ESA, which is why this is happening – to allow ranchers and others to continue business as usual.
     Still, ranchers objected to the plan according to the “Pinedale Roundup” (Jan. 18, 2007). The chairman of the working group was surprised. He should be; the plan is voluntary, and ranchers would almost certainly be paid for doing anything. The public subsidizes the industry and pays for its damages. Some effort was expended to blame ravens for Sage-Grouse endangerment.
     The southwestern willow flycatcher has a similar conservation plan. The resource related corporation’s spokesperson wrote that ag producers were legally covered by the plan for all of the farming and ranching activities that they have always done, “and will not be required to do anything to receive coverage.” Wildlife are in big trouble in this country.
     This in no way is meant to criticize the scientists and researchers who provided enormous amounts of data and analysis for this plan (147 pages). I criticize the planners.
Tom Darnell
Tom Darnell Subscriber
Dec 28, 2013 05:59 PM
Part of the reason for environmental degradation and the negative impacts on numerous species in the West is the various Federal farm programs. Wheat fields surrounded by sagebrush and prickly pear are not economically viable and are yet another example of farmers "farming the system". Why should taxpayers continue to subsidize dryland crops that qualify, on average, for a disaster payment one out of two years?

Perhaps though, the greatest environmental catastrophe in the making is the invasion of public and private lands by non-native plants. Cheat grass, leafy spurge, several species of knapweeds etc are rapidly degrading millions of acres. As these weeds become the climax vegetation numerous plant and animal species will decline or disappear.
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Jan 02, 2014 08:13 PM
     I don't know whether it is the greatest catastrophe, but, by my calculations, cheat grass is the greatest destroyer of native ecosystems among the non-native plants. The spurge and others bother agriculture in some way, so tens of millions of dollars of the public treasury have been spent in Colorado to eradicate these plants (another ag subsidy). As far as I know, nothing is expended to eradicate cheat grass. Apparently, it can be eaten by cattle, so that's all that matters.
     Decades ago, Aldo Leopold noted the public indifference to the ubiquity of cheat grass. (“Oregon and Utah”; "A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There") He considered livestock agriculture to be the biggest cause of the spread and persistence of cheat grass.
Dale Lockwood
Dale Lockwood Subscriber
Jan 14, 2014 05:25 PM
Its time to receive money due.
One crucial source for buying easements and other private land is the Land and Water Conservation Fund – but Congress usually gives it considerably less than half of the $900 million in energy royalties it's allocated.