ip photo of cattle shitting in a sensitive watershed on the Black Hills National Forest. Note bug kill.
Grasses available in the Black Hills meadows still include some native species, but also include some “introduced” species like timothy grass, brome grass, and Kentucky blue grass, said Julie Wheeler, the zoned rangeland management specialist for the Northern Hills District of the Black Hills National Forest. Water is one critical factor in the usage of the Black Hills for grazing. Most of the watering holes in the western Black Hills have been created by small dams across streams. [SDGOP-owned Black Hills Pioneer]Antimicrobials in manure kill fungal communities necessary for healthy forests.
In 2014 there were eight grazing allotments on the Northern Hills district that could no longer support livestock.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the federal government spends at least $144 million annually managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net loss of at least $123 million per year. It’s time to give ranchers a graceful way out. [WildEarth Guardians]Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.
There are four federal land management groups that allow grazing: the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service. Tom Smith, range staff officer for the Northern Hills Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest said there are 36 allotments in his district, eight of which are vacant. The allotments add up to 304,387 total acres and each allotment ranges from 1,223-20,479 acres in size. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 504 grazing allotments in Western South Dakota said Carmen Drieling, the group’s rangeland management specialist. “It’s a rate based on a formula that we have nothing to do with,” Smith said. “Congress set up the formula during the Regan [sic] administration and has done nothing to change it.” Currently that rate is $1.35 per grazing pair, per month. “It’s ridiculously cheap,” he said. “If you were to lease private land to do the same thing, you’re looking at $30. $20 would be cheap.” [Mark Watson, Black Hills Pioneer]Betty Olson is an earth hater state former legislator who defended the Bundyists in Nevada. Writing in the Black Hills Pioneer she said:
The federal government shouldn’t be allowed to own any land within a state’s boundaries unless it is granted permission by the legislature of that state, and so far, no state has given that permission to the federal government.Betty has apparently forgotten that the ground she lives on was seized from aboriginal cultures by President Thomas Jefferson through an executive order that even he believed was unconstitutional. She and other GOP ranchers take subsidies just to survive.