TAKE ACTION! Make “National Monument” Mean Something
June 2, 2020
There are just a few more days to comment on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new Environmental Assessment that green-lights continued and expanded livestock grazing on the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
Please, take a few moments before June 7th to let BLM know you care about protecting these extraordinary public lands from damaging livestock operations.
Western Watersheds Project and our allies have been fighting for this amazing place for a long time, and it’s because of our successful lawsuit that BLM had to go back to the drawing board with their 2012 plan to allow grazing to continue anywhere on the monument. Unfortunately, that also gave BLM time to create new monitoring protocols, shift their analysis of the data, and blame the problems on “historic grazing” — defined as grazing more than two years prior. The new EA promises it’s all going to be different down the road when they do even more analysis — but they need to take a hard look now and cut the bull!
We need a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describing exactly what they propose to do, rather than the currently proposed vague authorization and unspecific timeline for future analyses.
These lands are far too important to be given the usual BLM rubberstamp for livestock use.
BLM has only considered the impacts of livestock on perennial vegetation, and doesn’t measure or limit the effects of much heavier “ephemeral use” during spring green up, yet proposes to authorize an unspecified amount of spring grazing.
Annual vegetation is particularly important to the Sonoran desert tortoise, and the BLM shouldn’t be allowing a handful of livestock operators to strip the monument of wildlife habitat for the sake of profit.
BLM has not identified a “Need” to graze the monument — the permittees haven’t been grazing the monument for at least five years and no harms have been demonstrated from a lack of use, but initiating use now could undo the healing that has taken place in the absence of livestock.
We’ll be submitting extensive comments too, but BLM needs to hear from people all over the country about the travesty that is being proposed on these lands.
Your voice matters!
If you have photos of your favorite part of the monument, we’d love to see them and make them part of a virtual tour of the monument online. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your images.