On Friday February 25, 2000, Idaho Watersheds Project along with the Committee for Idaho's High Desert appealed and petitioned for stay to stop an extraordinarily bad BLM grazing decision for the Samaria Allotment in Oneida County near the Utah line in Southeast Idaho. The decision was signed by Jeff Steele the Pocatello and Malad Field office BLM manager.
The allotment incorporates about 25,000 acres which has had an average use for the last eight years of approximately 1900 cattle AUMs which provide about $2,600. per year in grazing fees to the BLM.
The BLM's decision proposes to spend approximately $200,000 on a major spring gutting multi-mile pipeline project as well as numerous miles of fencing all of which would introduce heavy cattle use into critical habitat for declining populations of sage and sharptail grouse and not ensure the protection of all riparian areas on the allotment!
The Allotment Evaluation and Environmental Assessment carried out pursuant to Idaho BLM's Standards and Guidelines for this allotment showed that all the riparian areas are in non-functioning or functioning-at-risk condition due to abusive hot season cattle grazing.
This decision is a classic example of the BLM sustaining "welfare ranching" at the public's expense. It will take over 200 years at current receipts to amortize project costs associated with this decision; projects which will be non-functional in less than twenty years and which immediately will destroy habitat for special status wildlife.
Where are our fiscally conservative Republican Senators and Representatives when we really need them?