Image Source: “Mcdermitt nevada-oregon skyline” by Finetooth – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Once there was a cowboy who let his herd of cattle roam free on thousands of acres of wilderness. He knew that they would live in harmony with the other critters, and that the land would benefit. He made sure that there was plenty of water and plenty of room so that the land would flourish. You see, if given enough room, critters are good for the land. They eat the overgrown forage and leave behind fertilizer that helps new forage to grow, which nourishes every other critter. Each critter has enough room to get out of the other one’s way, and everyone is happy.

That is, until the government in its infinite “scientific” wisdom, decides that cattle are bad for the land.

But is that the real reason that cattle ranching, as it has been done for over a hundred years, is now scheduled to become obsolete? A thing of the past – something to be disdained and thrown to the curb?

Picture a pristine wilderness devoid of the ravages of civilization and industrial development. Birds flying overhead and deer roaming free. Paradise as far as the eye can see. And in the middle of this haven designated as “public lands” set apart to be protected by the benevolence of the Federal Government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is an open pit uranium mine.

Say what??? You have got to be kidding me! Nope. This is what the BLM has on the back burner for the Malheur Wilderness area.

And the cowboys? Well, the last ones who attempted to get in the way of this takeover of land for the “public good” are now sentenced to 5 years in prison and branded as terrorists for protecting their land and cattle and forced to “grant the BLM first right of refusal if the Hammonds ever sold their ranch.”

The Dark Side of Environmental Conservation

Environmental conservation is a good thing. But is that what is really being done by the BLM when it takes over land? Maybe what the BLM is actually doing is grabbing land in the name of environmental conservation and placing it under the sole control of the government and out of the hands of we the people in order to do with it as the government pleases.

The lands that the government collects are called “public lands.” The BLM is charged with managing “public lands,” and routinely leases and sells mineral rights on the very same lands that it is supposed to manage and protect.

BLM’s Planning Manual 1601 explains the use of public lands:

Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed in accordance with the intent of Congress as stated in FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), i.e., under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield. As required by FLPMA, the public lands must be managed in a manner that protects the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archaeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use by encouraging collaboration and public participation throughout the planning process. In addition, the public lands must be managed in a manner that recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands.


According to the BLM Planning Manual, the agency is charged with maintaining the ecological environment of its public lands. That is, of course, unless it decides that mining for uranium supersedes any such directive.

Uranium on BLM-Administered Lands in OR/WA

In September 2011, a representative from Oregon Energy, L.L.C. (formally Uranium One), met with local citizens, and county and state officials, to discuss the possibility of opening a uranium oxide (“yellowcake”) mine in southern Malheur County in southeastern Oregon. Oregon Energy is interested in developing a 17-Claim parcel of land known as the Aurora Project through an open pit mining method. Besides the mine, there would be a mill for processing. The claim area occupies about 450 acres and is also referred to as the “New U” uranium claims.


This is conservation? Here is the open pit uranium mining proposal:


Uranium mine plan

Oregon Energy’s proposal calls for extracting ore from a mile-long, 600-foot wide, 250-foot deep open pit 10 miles west of McDermitt and 3 miles north of the Oregon-Nevada border. The mine, adjoining the former Bretz Mercury Mine, a contaminated open-pit site from the 1960s, would cost $200 million to develop and uranium extraction could continue for up to 20 years, said Oregon Energy President Lachlan Reynolds.

Plans call for the ore to be crushed and mixed with an acid solution in enclosed vats to leach out the uranium, he said. The acid would bond with the uranium and when dry become a sand-like powder called uranium oxide concentrate, or yellowcake. Yellowcake would bring $52 per pound and could fuel nuclear reactors or be processed into weapons.

Tuttle, spokesman for the Portland-based Center for Environmental Equity, foresees environmental problems.

The likelihood of sulfuric acid being used in processing the ore means it could remain in the mine tailings after milling, he said. The snag is that sulfuric acid tends to continuously leach out heavy metals that occur naturally in waste rock and tailings, contaminating ground water.

“Just because you are through with the processing, years later you still have the issue with that interaction,” he said.

But probably the biggest environmental hurdle for the Aurora mine would be the release of mercury, Tuttle said. “The whole Owyhee Reservoir has been affected by naturally occurring background mercury,” and uranium mining could release more, he said.



(click to enlarge)

Image Source: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/nuclear-fuel-cycle/mining-of-uranium/uranium-mining-overview/

And all this in a wilderness area designated for “protection” by the BLM from the encroachment of “destructive” practices, and where cattle grazing is quickly becoming a restricted practice.

And who profits from this besides the companies doing the dirty work?

Once projects are approved, the BLM is responsible for ensuring that developers and operators comply with use authorization requirements and regulations. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs issues mineral leases on Indian lands, the BLM approves and supervises mineral operations on these lands. 

Companies pay for development of public energy resources. Total royalty, rentals, and bonus payments vary from year to year. In fiscal year 2008, $5.5 billion was paid to Federal and State governments for Federal onshore energy leasing and production.


But by all means, let’s imprison a couple of cowboys as terrorists for setting a backfire to protect their property and cattle from destruction when they had been doing the same thing in conjunction with the BLM for years.


FIVE DECADES LATER: This 2006 photo shows cleanup work at the long-closed Lucky Lass and White King uranium mines outside of Lakeview. (Source: Willamette Week)

In Malheur County, the poorest in Oregon, there is wealth buried in the ground. 

It’s uranium—and the county has what may be the biggest sources in the U.S. 

For the first time in decades, someone wants to mine uranium in the state. Oregon Energy LLC, owned by an Australian company, hopes to extract at least 18 million pounds of uranium oxide from a 450-acre southeast Oregon site called the Aurora property.

Uranium oxide, better known as yellowcake, now trades near $52 per pound, six times its value a decade ago. Yellowcake is used to fuel nuclear reactors and can be processed into a form suitable for nuclear weapons.

But the project, three miles from the Nevada border, worries some industry critics. Uranium mining—not practiced in Oregon since the 1960s—often left hidden poisons in the earth and groundwater. The Aurora project would be the first test of a 1991 Oregon law aimed at policing mining operations that use chemical extraction…


Machines will scrape the earth from an open-pit mine a half-mile in length. The heavy clay soil, placed in vats, will be sprayed with a chemical mixture that probably contains sulfuric acid. The acid bonds with the uranium, which is extracted, dried and sold as yellowcake. The leftover dirt is discarded in a “tailings pile” near the site.


Enter the Grouse

Aurora uranium mine project on hold: According to Oregon Energy, “the project is on ice and not moving forward due to uranium prices and sage grouse issue.” (NRC Memo Dec. 12, 2013)

The mine area, according to Chris Hansen of the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) , is “absolutely core sage grouse habitat.” Sage grouse have been in decline in Oregon. According to ONDA, there is warrant to list the rapidly disappearing sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act, but thanks to politics and a backlog with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the sage grouse is on a waiting list with 250 other species. Two drainages of Cottonwood and McDermitt Creeks go through the site, and Fish and Wildlife documents show that the creeks or their tributaries are endangered species listed Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat.

Oregon Energy plans to process the uranium on the site, which is also a concern for Hansen. (Eugene Weekly Sep. 29, 2011)


With its open pits, acid drainage, and air and water pollution, mining is the dirtiest of all resource developments, accounting for more Superfund toxic cleanup sites than any other industry.



It appears that the only thing standing in the way of yet another toxic fiasco is the sage grouse. Not the obvious pollution that is very likely going to lead to a superfund site, not the health of all sorts of animals or hikers or anyone that depends on water in the area to live, no, just one tiny little sage grouse.


Image Source: “SageGrouse21” by Gary Kramer – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

The Hegelian Dialectic: Problem, Reaction, Solution

Consider this:

Problem: The government wants the land.

Reaction: Demonize cattle ranchers and blame the cattle for a decline in the sage grouse in order to free the land for alternate government use by pitting environmentalists against cattle grazing and the ranchers to gain the required reaction of placing the land under further restrictions in order to be protected from environmental harm.

Solution: The government gets the land.

The government wants the land for “conservation” efforts. In order to achieve this, the ranchers with their cattle and any private property interests need to go so that there is no interference. This way the land can be “protected” by the BLM and used for any purpose that the government wants it for, including uranium development.

The question then becomes – who will get the land – the sage grouse or uranium miners. In either case, the ranchers are out and the cattle can be consigned to your friendly neighborhood CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).

The rancher takes the blame, and the government does as it pleases. If the grouse is listed as an endangered species, the land is taken for conservation. If it isn’t, the land is taken for corporate energy and uranium mining. A win/win for big government. It’s called hedging your bets. Either way, the little guy loses and the government wins, and the rancher is left holding the bag. He either gets booted out by the sage grouse, or booted out by uranium interests, and there goes another source of local food and independence, leaving us ever more dependent on the corporate food chain.

Since a decision was made to not list the sage grouse as an endangered species in 2015, guess which interests won? You’ve got it – mining. Now the only problem left is to work out how to make the energy industry operations appear “beneficial” to the environment so as not to concern the sage grouse supporters, and to declare more public land as “cattle free,” again, for the benefit of the environment. Not a problem that a good Public Relations campaign can’t handle. Cha-Ching!

Originally published at: GIAnalytics


Oregon Standoff: Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum Dead, Bundys Arrested

The police in cooperation with the FBI got their men about 20 miles north of Burns, Oregon on Tuesday, January 26, 2016. Mark that day in history, folks, as the day the old west was given a warning shot. A warning shot that said very loud and clear to the American public: Don’t mess with the government, don’t question authority, don’t stand up for the Constitution or your supposed “rights,” just submit or die.

©2016 Barbara H. Peterson

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18 Responses to “A Tale of Cattle, Sage Grouse, and Uranium in Oregon”

  1. High Plains says:

    pretty well convinced Hammonds’ were targeted for their land, and events were manipulated to put Amanda Marshall into office to prosecute/persecute them.
    Having read the history of the flooding of the 31 ranchers’ home’s:
    “By 1980 a conflict was well on its way over water allocations on the adjacent privately owned Silvies Plain. The FWS wanted to acquire the ranch lands on the Silvies Plain to add to their already vast holdings. Refuge personnel intentionally diverted the water to bypassing the vast meadowlands, directing the water into the rising Malheur Lakes. Within a few short years the surface area of the lakes doubled. 31 ranches on the Silvies plains were flooded.

    Homes, corrals, barns and graze-land were washed away and destroyed. The ranchers that once fought to keep the FWS from taking their land, now broke and destroyed, begged the FWS to acquire their useless ranches. In 1989 the waters began to recede and now the once thriving privately owned Silvies pains are a proud part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge claimed by the FWS.

    If I had to say yes or no, I would say yes, BLM lied (in all court documents). There is a history of confrontations with the Hammonds’ that didn’t need to happen, and in my judgment: BLM deliberately used ‘their authority’ to cause and provoke such confrontations, then immediately went running to ‘law enforcement’ complaining about how bad a person Mr. Hammonds was because Mr. Hammond made them stand down.

    BLM officials know full well how to go to court; and how to establish ‘a trail of evidence’, even if it is all baloney. Their manuals take them through this step by step. Not a far leap to see how high they jumped to get this accomplished.
    Planning initiatives are established years in advance: sometimes often as far off as five or ten years.

    I think BLM in Harney county on purpose did not do the proscribed burns they were supposed to do on Hammonds’ grazing lands. By pulling the stall trick, they were deliberately goading the Hammonds’.
    By fencing in his water rights (which BLM typically does not do), they were setting up a confrontation with the outcome in their mind they were going to find a way to file charges on Mr. Hammonds.

    There is a different mindset between ranchers and office bureaucrats. Ranchers want to ranch: get their cows grazing, fed and watered, keep fences mended, and feed stored for winter. They do not think legalese.

    BLM on the other hand, especially management, have divisional and regional, interstate meetings where national plans are outlined, and agendas proscribed.

    The timing of the events in 2010 are just too ‘coincidental’ to think other than an agenda was being followed.
    Amanda Marshall is leap-frogged over all other highly qualified candidates: charges re-filed against the Hammond’s days before the 2006 statutory expiration. The connection between Amanda Marshall and Judge Ann Aiken (and Marshall working for Aiken’s husband) cannot be described any other way than political incest .[You know they decide ahead of time what case is going to be heard before which judge, right?]

    If I were FBI and had access to their computers, I would be cross-checking all phone calls between the offices of the BLM officials involved, Senator Ron Wyden -Oregon( who ultimately pushed Amanda Marshall into the position of Oregon US Attorney), FWS, judicial ‘officials’, and any body else involved.

    Do I think she was put into office purposely (with her background) to prosecute/persecute the Hammonds? Well, let’s see:

    – BLM Harney County was well aware of the uranium deposits (Mahler refuge).
    – BLM Harney County had done their best for 20 years to get rid of the Hammonds
    -denied 3 separate grazing rights prior to current events
    – BLM Harney County falsely arrested Mr. Hammond 1994
    – BLM Harney County would get ‘royalty fees’ from any mining operations
    – BLM Harney County suffered budget cuts 2010 onwards
    – BLM Harney County pays the firefighters
    (I personally read 3 different accounts of said firefighters w/regards to alleged incident)
    – BLM Harney County decides if the hunting guide gets to have a permit so he can take ‘deerhunters’ on expeditions

    Aaaah, yes, let’s not forget that BLM spent no money or effort in putting out the ‘alleged fires Hammonds’ supposedly set: all of 139 acres.

    The state of Oregon has its own fire insurance program with Lloyd’s of London for wildfires.

    So why the $400,000 fine and the written stipulation BLM gets first dibs on Hammonds’ property?

    Would be so easy to say the butler did it in the parlor with the candlestick.

    Harney County is tied up in nepotism: nasty Grasty, the judges, the newspapers controlling the thoughts and emotions of the uneducated minions, and playing the self-aggrandizing environmental groups (Center for Biological Diversity is at the top of this list: followed by Oregon’s Desert Conservation group) for all it’s worth to whip up the fervor from that social group.
    And I’m willing to bet donuts to a dollar that Grasty was very active, contacting the Native American Indian Tribe, and the other groups to add their two cents to the manure heap: obfuscating the original point of it all- the injustice done to the Hammonds’.

    It’s easy to be ‘environmentally’ persuaded when one’s own survival and livelihood does not depend on it. I would doubt if any member of the aforementioned groups could last one day in the life of a rancher.

    There is a cultural and societal disconnect that never used to be.

    Yes, I would be willing to bet ten bucks BLM/MNWR (Mr. & Mrs. Kharges), some people in ‘judicial’ offices, and others got together and put it all together: then went and re-filed the charges.

    Kangaroo court, modern day mob lynching: inflamed by the posters on Oregon Live.

    Only those involved (BLM and firefighters), would have known about the al-queda ‘fire-terrorism’ article. I couldn’t understand why posters were using those words with regards to the Hammonds’.

    For example: a poster signed in as ‘Chairman(?), stipulated: NO, it was not the FBI that shut down the schools. It was local officials. Who has been the front and foremost self-proclaimed accolade of Harney County?

    Why, none other than Mr. Wonderful, nasty Mr. Grasty.

    I keep thinking of Eddie Hatcher. He was a Lumbee Indian that took over a newspaper office in NC to bring attention to a corrupt sheriff’s department. It took 20 years, and Eddie died in prison, but that sheriff’s department and his cohorts finally all went to jail. Eddie Hatcher was right.

    People often look at the messenger, and don’t listen to the message. Harney County,Oregon is just as corrupt as Eddie Hatcher’s Robeson County, NC

    screen shot from Uranium One Mining Company : It specifically thanks OregonLive’s Les Zaitz for helping them ..”in their pursuit”.

    China Speaks: China document: attaining America’s resources are crucial to China’s continuance as a nation. (Pure coincidence Amanda Marshall’s studies in China) Start at the bottom of page 3, with sentence: Therefore solving the ‘issue of America’ is key to solving all other issues
    Barb, the pdf “China Speaks” really puts the metal to the pedal: from their own mouth they are saying they are out to acquire America’s resources because since they discovered it, America belongs to them anyways. They have to take America’s resources for China’s survival

    Uploaded 2 of 2 (0.17MB)

    original Uranium One Les Zaitz.jpg


  2. Gina Birkmaier says:

    Where ever ONDA gets its sage grouse info. is certainly NOT the ODFW. Minutes of the August 2015 meeting state – “Chair Finley – Last month we had a presentation and we adopted rules that related to
    sage-grouse habitat and development. The target population for the state was 31,000 and what is the current population?
    Dave Budeau – The population in our management plan is 30,000 birds. What we calculate for our spring breeding population this year and it’s what we call the minimum male estimate is 19,700 birds which was about an 11% increase over the past year.
    Chair Finley – We are looking to achieve about 10,000 additional birds.

    Dave Budeau – To put the 30,000 bird objective into perspective; was based on our average spring breeding population from 1980 to 2003. It’s basically an average and in the strategy it’s not unreasonable to expect the population to fluctuate by as much as 50% above or below that. That is our long term average goal and is not necessarily a
    15 point estimate. “

  3. Abe says:

    This has the smell of Harry Reid and son and China!

    Portable Generator Runs on Water!!

  4. Leslie G. says:

    JAMES: You stated “cattle do not live in harmony with the land or other critters (here in the US)” Either you never lived among animals on a ranch, or you live in a test-tube. Apparently “GOD” created the land for it’s extraction of minerals for the purposes of “greed and power”. You need to spend a year living on a cattle ranch. Oh wait, those loco cattle might run you off!!!

  5. Judy says:

    James’ ignorance is showing. Buffalo grass is an excellent forage for cattle. Also he has no clue about bison. They can be very destructive, but their grazing kept the ecosystem healthy and vibrant. Well managed cattle are crucial to the land, just as the buffalo were. Plus, many ranchers actually graze buffalo! We have some on our own land, owned by the Lakota.

    The grouse is just a pawn, just as the desert tortois is the pawn in the Southwest. Cattle were removed from vast stretches of land in order to “save” the tortois, but the fact is they DIE without the cattle because they need the dung for nutrients and moisture, especially during dry periods.

  6. Evelyn says:

    Sorry James you are wrong, you’re statement that Buffalo Grass has been wiped out is totally false. There are parts of Colo., where the grass still grows, plus I’m sure other states as well. Also cattle do very well on the grass.

  7. Karen Carpenter says:

    The rules of engagement for our troops in foreign countries where combatants are actually trying to kill our guys. Are as follows they cannot shoot unless they see a gun. In the USA if your hand moves towards your waist shoot to kill what is wrong with our goverment employees? A man died here in Oregon all because corporations want to make money off of land that is supposed to be managed for multiple us. Yes and like it or not that includes Rancher, loggers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Not just one or the other to the exclusion of anyone.

  8. James: Have you actually seen a buffalo? It is interesting that you call ranchers stupid when most of the ranchers around here are some of the smartest people I know when it comes to land stewardship. You might also want to understand buffalo grass a tad more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouteloua_dactyloides. Also, the fertilization process and the grazing management process:

    “We did some research back in 2001 in which we evaluated the forage choices of cattle in a patch-burn grazing system under a moderate stocking rate (Helzer and Steuter 2005). Our data showed that those cattle were very selective toward grasses, and ate very few forbs under those conditions. That research, along with observations other scientists and cattle managers at patch-burn grazed sites, has led to an altered perception of the forage selection differences between cattle and bison – namely, that many of the differences are driven more by grazing system than by biology.” http://prairieecologist.com/20.....attle-bad/

  9. James says:

    Good story, But the whole 1st paragraph is a LIE ! Cows do not live in harmony with the land or other critters(here in the U.S.) . Cattle was introduced, the BUFFALO was wiped out. The buffalo grass was also wiped out, because cattle can not digest it. The buffalo grass provided food and habitat for many critters. The buffalo ate the buffalo grass, and the buffalo droppings fertilized the ground much better than cow droppings. The buffalo needed less water than cattle, the buffalo grass held more water than the grasses that are here now, one of the main reasons of the desert like conditions growing west of the Mississippi. And yes, this was all started by the lies the cattle associations put out , and by the laws they paid for, which are still in force today. Corporate America at its best….and the ranchers act like they are INNOCENT, when in fact they are responsible for many of their own problems, and just too damned stupid to realize it.

  10. I think the BLM and the rest of the Obama administration including the FBI, CIA,and Hillary Clinton all should be arrested for Violating federal and constitutional rights and law’s! They murdered a man and shot others as well as destroying the land,and wildlife along with High Treason because they sold that uranium to iran and China, now they are taking land for gold mineral rights and more uranium,the government can’t own land yet their killing people over it!

  11. George H says:

    “The motionless electromagnetic generator (MEG) extracts electromagnetic energy from curved space-time and outputs about twenty times more energy than inputed” is just one example of a suppressed free energy patent, and there are hundreds, nay, thousands more (all suppressed for National Security reasons of course). But since Amerika is really a Delaware Corporation run for the benefit of its owners, the Corporations, and not for the benefit of it’s occupants WE THE PEOPLE then our dependency on oil will continue. As oil revenues fuel the CABAL, and grease the skids (buys off Congress) so that their fiefdom (USA) forever remains in their hands. Plus “Wars for Oil” promote “Regime Change” and uranium provides them with toxic nuclear reactors and additional nuclear munitions that further consolidate their wealth, influence, and the ability to project their hegemonic power worldwide. FREE ENERGY WOULD KILL THE NWO so it must be stopped dead in it’s tracks. FAT CATS IN TOP HATS OWN THE WORLD and don’t you ever forget that sheeple. We’ll give you your “Bread and Circuses” but we’ll keep evertthing else. HAVE A NICE DAY.

  12. amicus curiae says:

    hmm like the senator who had a deal going with chinese to install solar pv all over the bundy ranch..dont reckon the supposed endangered turtles woulda thought that was a step up in helping them out either..
    meanwhile what Aus company is behind this?
    cos we have roxby downs and another area and more than ample from there to supply ussa warmongers
    mining that area of yours as opencut, is outright nuts

  13. Eileen K. says:

    The US Constitution forbids the Federal Govt from owning one piece of land outside of its 10 square feet of land in the District of Columbia. Outside of DC, public lands are owned by the States and the people .. the Feds are only permitted to manage them, not own them; i.e., they answer to the States and to the people.
    What happened in Burns, OR, is cold-blooded, capital murder. A rancher (LaVoy Finicum) was gunned down in cold blood, despite the fact that he was unarmed and posed no threat to the Federal agent who shot him. What that agent didn’t consider was this: his murderous actions have awakened a sleeping giant. All this, just because a ranch owned by the Hammond family sits atop mineral and uranium resources .. and the Feds want to steal it in order to extract these resources. This is totally illegal.

  14. Donna Weberg says:

    I stand with LaVoy Finicum. Why go after the Bundy,s for not paying taxes when people like Al Sharpton are owing millions and no one does anything? What ever happened to “of the people, by the people and for the people? The whole country has gone crazy.
    Donna Weberg

  15. Fred Olsen says:

    BOGUS. $51 a pound for yellowcake? You must be smoking it to believe that. On today’s date you can find yellowcake for $34.75. That’s 1/3 less than $51. As the dinosaur nuclear industry dies, Uranium will be worth less and less to mine. Parts of Washington an Oregon are already “National Sacrifice Areas”. I guess some people are ready to make some more sacrifices of our nation’s lands so an Australian company can make a few more bucks. Oregon, you are the colony of foreign powers.

  16. Ken Weberg says:

    What a beautiful and articulate article. I will send this out to all the libtards I know and they probably won’t read it but maybe some will. If you recall a few years back the feds took over a whore house in Nevada. . They can’t even do that right .To add insult to injury then hired back the original owner. When he had pocketed 3 million split for parts unknown. I should trust them??? Now they bring guns and murder you if you don’t agree they kill you. No redress of greavence . Time to stand with LaVoy Finicum

  17. Arne Alvarado says:

    If the Blm wants to restore the range land to its original condition they need 60 million Buffalo*. The closest substitute for Buffalo would be free range cattle. Researchers have found that cattle if managed correctly exhibit little difference in range use than bison*. Cattle are the best option for restoration of the historic Bison stomping grounds. The BLM claim that cattle grazing is destroying the range land is bogus! Imagine the effect 60 million Buffalo had on the range land: “The moving multitude…darkened the whole plains,” wrote Lewis and Clark.
    So why do they want to run off the free range cattle ranchers?
    Among some prairie enthusiasts, there seems to be a perception that plains bison are magical creatures that live in complete harmony with the prairie. They eat grasses but not wildflowers, they float just above the ground to avoid stepping on plants or compacting the soil, and they create tidy little wallows that fill with rainwater for tadpoles and wading birds. Cattle, on the other hand, are evil creatures that seek and destroy wildflowers, removing them from prairies forever. They also stomp all over prairies, trampling plants and birds to death and causing cascades of soil erosion and water pollution. Seriously?*
    Let me be clear, Bison and Cattle have one common trait they are big stompy animals that go wherever they want, poop all over the place, rub on trees, trample plants (and animals), and can cause erosion issues.

    * Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife (January 1965). “The American Buffalo”. Conservation Note 12

    *Steuter, Allen and Hidinger, Lori, “Comparative Ecology of Bison and Cattle on Mixed-Grass Prairie” (1999). Great Plains Research: A Journal of Natural and Social Sciences. Paper 467

    * The Prairie Ecologist