New grass height study could be used against livestock grazing

Three environmentalist groups — WildEarth Guardians, the Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity — are using a grass-and-nest study in a controversy surrounding the greater sage grouse that could negatively affect livestock grazing. According to The Associated Press, newly published manuscript in the December issue of Wildlife Biology outlines the correlation between range grass height and the success of the greater sage grouse. The study states that tall grass is used by the sage grouse to make its nest and its dual purpose allows the range bird to hide its eggs from predators. With lower grass heights resulting from grazing cattle it puts the eggs and, in theory, the species itself in danger.

Green groups are lobbying the Fish and Wildlife Service to classify the greater sage grouse as endangered. If they are successful, then ranchers who use grass ranges on federal lands to feed their cattle could be prohibited from doing so or see their ability to use federal lands severely restricted. If the sage grouse is listed as an endangered species resulting from green group lobbying then grazing on federal lands in Wyoming, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Washington will be affected. It just so happens that the sage grouse lives in habitats in all eleven states. Fish & Wildlife will render their decision on whether or not to classify the sage grouse as endangered September 30th of next year.

This is one of many instances where environmentalists seek to restrict or prevent federal lands for use by cattle ranchers in order to feed their livestock. This is not, however, about protecting the sage grouse as much as it is about restricting livestock grazing which is tantamount to attacking meat products humans like to consume. If environmentalists have their way then ranchers could see their ability to graze on federal lands vanish or reduced which results in higher meat prices and eventually running cattle ranchers out of business. Rancher groups stated they are willing to work things out, but the environmentalists do not care. If they did then they would not be petitioning to classify the sage grouse as endangered. Like any other animal the sage grouse can migrate to other areas with more plentiful grass that the creature can use to build its nests. This is one of many instances where green groups attempt to prevent livestock grazing which is really an attack on our food supply.