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How the BLM is ruining America’s public lands

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SOURCE: counterpunch.org

Savagery in the Great Basin

The Bureau of Land Management has spent the pandemic churning out rapacious public land projects at breakneck speed. This includes egregious grazing decisions drastically increasing livestock numbers for powerful ranchers. After complaints, Idaho BLM Director John Ruhs responded that ranching was an essential service.

At the same time, an avalanche of BLM deforestation projects hit. Ely BLM’s Long and Ruby Valley Watershed Restoration EA decision arrived by certified mail, authorizing more grotesque pinyon-juniper carnage and smashed roller-beaten sagebrush across 136,000 acres of public land. That’s 213 square miles laid to waste within a nearly half million-acre landscape, plus blanket tree removal around all springs.

It’s the latest in a dismal series of cookie cutter projects tearing apart the Great Basin. BLM’s 2008 land use plan (the Ely RMP) is based on radical deforestation and sagebrush reduction. At that time, sage-grouse were not the primary excuse for these projects. Hazardous fuels reduction was all the rage. Nowadays, both are knotted together. The RMP has served as a springboard for watershed-by-watershed decimation of native forests and sage communities, and their migratory bird and other wildlife inhabitants across the District’s 12 million acres.

The Modeling Con: Restoration = Plant Community Destruction = Livestock Forage Grass

BLM concocts models of supposed historical plant communities using inputs that ignore actual historical accounts of sagebrush and pinyon-juniper occurrence and characteristics. The models are acronym laden, confusing, and help facilitate destruction of woody plants that ranchers don’t like. Short fire return intervals and sketchy fuels assumptions from the Landfire website are plugged in to the models.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been deeply involved in pushing this dubious forest and sage dooming methodology. Once armed with voodoo vegetation models, BLM claims trees should not be growing where they are found across Nevada’s mountain ranges, because the models predict frequent fires would have kept forests from persisting. BLM also adds in a scheme based on arbitrary “phases” (amounts of canopy cover) to justify clearing away trees. Anything to keep a forest from being a forest. This has long been the playbook for obliterating trees in Nevada.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Katie Fite is a biologist and Public Lands Director with WildLands Defense.

Who’s running the Bureau of Land Management?

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Since the BLM has removed state websites and staff directories from the internet, and they now have only one portal for very limited public information, we thought we’d give you a quick update on who’s running the Bureau of Land Management at national and state levels.   Source: BLM

Brian Steed  Brian Steed

Deputy Director, Programs and Policy, Bureau of Land Management

Exercising Authority of the Director

Brian Steed is the BLM’s Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, exercising authority of the director. Before joining the BLM in October 2017, Steed served as Chief of Staff for Representative Chris Stewart of Utah. Before that, he taught economics at Utah State University and was once a deputy county attorney in Iron County, Utah. Read the full biography

Michael Nedd  Michael D. Nedd

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Get real, John Ruhs

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  John Ruhs, BLM Nevada State Director

                   

    Yosemite Sam, Ruhs’ doppelganger

Dadgummit!  After John Ruhs, Nevada’s BLM State Director, said that he wanted to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County last summer (supposedly in response to the continued lies blaming wild horses and burros for the “deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland”), we’re noting that many mines that will use billions of gallons of water are now on the verge of expanding in Nevada.

Ruhs recently spoke at the Elko Convention Center, and stated that “We are pretty proud of the fact that this last year we have worked with the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, the Nevada Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and NDOW to provide some public opportunities to talk about sage grouse land use amendments and what they mean to the grazing program. A lot of work still needs to be done.”

The BLM ALWAYS works with the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association.  And the National Cattlemen’s Association.  Actually, the BLM works FOR them.  Notice that the focus of talking about sage grouse land use amendments is all about what they mean to the grazing program?

Ruhs also lamented that wild horse and burro issues dominate a large part of the Nevada BLM and Ruhs went on to talk about the difficulties in wild horse management.

Wild horse and burro issues dominate?  Like, bigger than all of the mines and outnumbering all of the livestock?

And talk about difficulties?  How about all those abandoned mines in Nevada, John?

And management?  There is only wild horse and burro “MISmanagement.”

Ruhs then said “We are somewhere in excess of 37,000 horses on the rangeland that is a big priority for us and it’s one of the things that I hope in the new administration that we will see some changes that will finally allow us to get some work done on the ground.”

We hope that the work that Ruhs is referring to getting done “on the ground” will include getting an accurate count of the wild horses and burros, rescinding some livestock overgrazing permits and making sure the extractive industries don’t use every last drop of water.

Why even bother to imply that the BLM “manages” anything, except impending environmental damage from the “multiple uses” that make a buck?  Don’t stash the truth, John.

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