From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 49 - March 4, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Upper Green grazing changes proposed

by Cat Urbigkit

On Friday, the Bridger-Teton National Forest released its draft environmental impact statement for livestock grazing in the Upper Green River region.

The outcome of the federal planning process will determine future management of the single largest grazing allotment in the National Forest System. The Upper Green Allotment covers 130,100 acres and provides forage for 7,565 head of cattle and 43 head of horses. This allotment is one of several examined in the EIS.

The DEIS stands to impact a total of six grazing allotments: Badger Creek, Beaver-Twin Creeks, Noble Pastures, Roaring Fork, Upper Green River and Wagon Creek. Within these allotments, a total of 46,100 animal unit months are permitted to 21 grazing permit holders in the 169,000-acre area, which is also split into smaller units or pastures for management purposes. The permits authorize grazing for a total of about 9,100 head of cattle and 50 head of horses in the six allotments.

Grazing seasons for the allotments vary, but fall between mid-June and mid-October.

The DEIS notes that although monitoring indicates that current grazing use is meeting resource management objectives in most areas, there are some areas where objectives are not being achieved. To combat these problems, the U.S. Forest Service has proposed to modify management direction by implementing additional management prescriptions and new grazing strategies.

The EIS examines three management alternatives: current management; grazing with modifications, which is the proposed action; and eliminating livestock grazing.

The proposed alternative does not change the season dates or numbers of permitted livestock, but does make other changes. Rotational grazing systems will be incorporated in the Badger Creek and Beaver-Twin Creeks allotments and modified, using adaptive management, to achieve desired conditions. Allotment management plans will be written and updated. In addition, more detailed forage utilization standards will be implemented to improve overall resource conditions. Other mitigation measures proposed range from instituting four- or six-inch stubble heights in riparian areas, to limiting streambank trampling to a maximum of 10 percent in some critical areas and 20 percent in other areas. This trampling prescription is somewhat problematic, since currently there is no generally accepted methodology for measuring streambank trampling.

The DEIS states that when implemented, the proposed action will maintain or improve upland, riparian and watershed conditions.

The DEIS states: "Continuing to authorize livestock grazing on the six allotments would help meet the Forest Plan direction to support local communities and provide forage for livestock grazing. In addition, authorizing livestock grazing would support the local community and the custom and culture of domestic livestock grazing in this area."

For more information, or to comment on the DEIS, contact: Pinedale Ranger District, P.O. Box 220, Pinedale, Wyo., 82941. Public comments on the DEIS will be accepted for 45 days.

Livestock grazing in the project area:

Allotment nameAcresSeasonPermitted AUMsCurrent SystemProposed System
Badger Creek7,300July 1-Sept. 30622season-longdeferred rotation
Beaver Twin22,300July 15-Oct. 152,772season-longdeferred rotation
Noble Pastures760June 14-Sept. 201,605deferred rotationdeferred rotation
Roaring Fork8,300June 16-Oct. 15898season-longrotation
Upper Green River:130,100June 16-Oct. 1540,107  
      Mud Lake/Fish Creek   deferred rotationdeferred rotation
      Mosquito Lake Pastures   rest rotationrest rotation
      Tepee/Tosi/Kinky S   deferred rotationdeferred rotation
      Moose/Gypsum   deferred rotationvdeferred rotation
      Kinky Creek N    rest rotation
Wagon Creek240July 15 -Oct. 15 deffered on/off defferred on/off

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