Friday, January 13, 2012

Update: Government Rejects Guardians Bid for Cow Free Caldera

The Director of the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico has declined our offer of $35,000 to not graze domestic livestock on the Preserve. We were hopeful this year in the aftermath of the largest fire in New Mexico's recorded history that the Preserve would seek to rest the traumatized ecosystems and still get paid.

Disappointingly we got the notification today that they will not accept our money and will run cows again on the Preserve. The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a treasure and we are very lucky to have it in public ownership, but cows grazing this jewel is not appropriate. Especailly after such a large fire, the grasslands and forests need time to recover with out cattle trampling the sensitive soils and grazing down the new growth.

Not only does the Preserve authorize grazing by domestic livestock, but there have been trespass cattle in the Preserve that come in from the surrounding National Forest lands to gorge on the robust, green grasses. The Preserve staff makes a heroic effort to round up and return the offending cattle, but as soon as they turn around there are more. This problem has to be solved with more vigilance and tougher fines on the owners of the trespass cows.

In the meantime, cows, both authorized and unauthorized, will graze in the magnificent valleys of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. WildEarth Guardians and our volunteers will continue to work with the staff and managers to restore degraded ecosystems in the Preserve and ensure cows remain out of the sensitive streams and wildlife habitats. We have several work days coming up to remove barbed wire and other ranching infrastructure that will ensure the least impact from cows. Join us!

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