Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cattle and forests

From page A4 | December 27, 2013 | 8 Comments

Two comprehensive studies by the University of California at Davis lend support to continued cattle grazing in the national forest.

The first study, published June 27 in Plos One, is billed as “the most comprehensive examination of water quality on national forest public grazing lands to date.”

The second, published in the same scientific journal, gave the results of a five-year study that concluded that cattle grazing in the national forest had no effect on the population of Yosemite toads. Scientists will have to look elsewhere for the cause of that toad’s decline, most likely disease similar to the fungus with which the Pacific chorus frog is infecting yellow-legged frogs.

The June 27 publication was a result of a study conducted June through November of 2011 in which nearly 40 UCD researchers, ranchers, Forest Service staff and environmental “stakeholders went out by foot and on horseback, hiking across meadows, along campsites and down ravines to collect 743 water samples from 155 sites across five national forests in Northern California.”

The study area included grazing areas, recreational lands and places where neither were found. The UCD researchers analyzed water samples for microbial content, including fecal coloform, E. coli, nitrogen and phosphorous.

“They found no significant differences in fecal indicator bacteria between grazing lands and areas without recreation or grazing. Overall 83 percent of all sample sites and 95 percent of all water samples collected were below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency benchmarks for human health.”

The importance here is that about 1.8 million livestock graze on national forest lands in the Western United States annually. In California there are 500 active grazing allotments serving 97,000 livestock across 8 million acres in 17 national forests.

The Yosemite toad study was a five-year study in which cattle were fenced off from toad habitat — basically marshes. Fencing the cattle off from toad habitat had no effect on the toad population.

“We basically found the Yosemite toad and cattle use the landscape differently,” said Ken Tate, principal investigator and rangeland watershed specialist for UC Cooperative Extension. “The toad uses water areas and the cattle use drier meadows, which provides better forage.”

The results of the study found “no benefit of fencing to Yosemite toad populations.” Also, it pooh-poohed previous studies that claimed  negative impacts on toads from cattle grazing: Results “do not support previous studies that found a negative impact of grazing on amphibian populations.”

A five-year study is pretty comprehensive and definitive. What’s needed now is San Francisco State University researchers to apply the same research intensity to the Yosemite toad that they did to the yellow-legged frog, which they discovered was susceptible to a fungus carried by the Pacific chorus frog, which migrated upstream.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 8 comments

  • EvelynDecember 27, 2013 - 5:26 am

    “We basically found the Yosemite toad and cattle use the landscape differently.” ................ I wonder how much was spent to arrive at this conclusion.

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  • cookie65December 27, 2013 - 9:01 am

    Eve!yn, did you read about the "scientist" who faked an AIDS cure study to get a $19million grant? Can you imagine a "scientist" faking data to get money? Unthinkable!!!! Unimaginable!!!! Inconceivable!!! Incomprehensible!!! I hope no one comes up with that idea using the notion of being able to control the weather. Can you imagine the massive amount of wealth they would be able to confiscate? The all out control they would have over everyone? The social and behavioral engineering they would be able to dictate? Imagine taking over the atmosphere, for the benefit of mankind/planet could lead to powers never before imagined by any and every tyrant dictator to ever live.

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  • EvelynDecember 27, 2013 - 3:09 pm

    Cookie: Yes, I had seen the article. True scientists who either are unwilling to fake data or who refuse to undertake research simply because funding is available are a dying breed. I'm not sure that in this day and age any such could find/keep a university position. However, I'm willing to be surprised. Regarding weather modification/control, have you checked out Air Force 2025 (HERE)? Go to the chapter titled: Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. ........... "[W]eather-modification is a force multiplier with tremendous power that could be exploited across the full spectrum of war-fighting environments. From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counter-space control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary. But, while offensive weather modification efforts would certainly be undertaken by US forces with great caution and trepidation, it is clear that we cannot afford to allow an adversary to obtain an exclusive weather-modification capability." ********** (This 30-year project was begun in 1996.)

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  • cookie65December 27, 2013 - 4:56 pm

    Eve!yn, right you are, universities have taken the almighty dollar over reputation and integrity. On your other posting, Yes I have read your other postings on the subject and a few others I have stumbled across. I was privy to one of the original "cloud seeding" experiments in El Dorado county dating back to the early/mid 80s. The forces of nature, weather, wind, ocean currents, rain, are unimaginable and the ability to harness them is the ultimate trump card in warfare. It would be equivalent to a government controlling the healthcare of its citizens in order to possess absolute control.

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  • TataDecember 27, 2013 - 7:37 am

    The Forest Service has proved that they’ll use any study, flawed or not to keep us and livestock out of the woods. Frogs and cattle need different environment to live, really. Under forest service care we kicked out livestock that kept the fuel loads down, resulting in more, bigger and more destructive fires. These livestock operators paid for the use of the grazing, and it’s not cheap, despite what others say, now the realization that grazing is needed, the forest service is PAYING to have goats brought in. You got it, they were paid for the use, now they are paying someone to use it. Government at it’s finest

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  • cookie65December 27, 2013 - 8:05 am

    I could have saved the tax payers a whole boat load of money by taking these "experts" to anyone of a thousand ponds on the local cattle ranches and having them count the bullfrogs. This is what happens when flatlanders who got all their pseudo-knowledge from a book get put in charge of anything.

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  • Gaspen AspenDecember 27, 2013 - 8:51 am

    "This is what happens when flatlanders who got all their pseudo-knowledge from a book get put in charge of anything." Cookie, you forgot to add: This is what happens when you add the feds into the picture. They will always screw things up....ALWAYS!! Tata hits the nail on the head.

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  • MartinDecember 29, 2013 - 1:38 am

    This is the same BS that happen to the mining community, they have eliminated dredging the rivers for gold by using tainted science (proven) but that made no difference the EPA or whoever destroyed a heritage that has been a dream for a few and income for others. I for one have been dredging for the income and pleasure of it off and on for 40 years, I could always depend on making a living when things got tuff; but not anymore. It put a real damper on my retirement, the investment that I made in equipment that now is yard furniture makes me want to puke, these so called do-gooders have taken the livelihood from many for no reason other that they can. Check and balances are not in place, we leave these people do what they want and what they want they do. We should rename EPA to TJD (the job destroyers). Natural resources use to be and still should be one of the biggest income suppliers for the state of California; that has all but been destroyed by tree hugging idiots that have no idea of what it takes to survive if you’re not a government employee. They would rather you stand in a food line than let you make a living by using your hands. I for one support cutting California up in to at least two different states, the working man would at least have a say in what government is doing here in the North, North East part of the state.

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