More than a year after conservation groups announced plans to take legal action regarding cattle illegally trespassing into the Valles Caldera National Preserve, those same groups say the federal agencies have not made significant changes to prevent the damage caused by the livestock. Cyndi Tuell, the Arizona and New Mexico director at Western Watersheds Project, said that after the groups filed a notice of intent to sue, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service approached them and expressed an interest in working to solve the issue. The boundary fence is between land managed by two federal agencies and, because of that, the Forest Service and the Park Service share the responsibility to maintain the fence and work together to do so. Tuell said the Forest Service or the Park Service should make the ranchers pay for the forage cattle are illegally consuming outside of the allotments, but the Forest Service says that is not within its authority. Additionally, the cattle pollute the water in part by causing more erosion, which leads to more sediment in the streams. “There’s a whole host of problems in addition to the cow pies themselves contaminating the water,” she said. [Illegal cattle grazing remains a problem in Valles Caldera National Preserve]Cattle manure contaminated with bovine growth hormones and antibiotics introduced into critical watersheds is epidemic even on public lands.
We took action this week with Western Watersheds Project and Caldera Action to put the chronic, illegal trespassing of cattle into Valles Caldera National Preserve to an end once and for all.— WildEarth Guardians (@wildearthguard) October 22, 2022
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