Monday, November 15, 2004

Hart Mountain
This national wildlife refuge, primarily designed for Pronghorns, is located in eastern Oregon, closer to the border with Nevada. Here's a map.
RoguePundit has a look into the politics of this area, as the refuge has a 15 year ban on livestock grazing which ends in 5 years. The reason for the ban was to try and improve the pronghorn and grouse populations in the refuge. This has happened, but as Roguepundit explains, the science of why that has happened may get lost in the debate.
See while cattle might be bad for the area, and harm pronghorn numbers, cattle grazing isn't the only thing that has changed since the ban took effect. Number one: the drought that long affected the area ended that year, and the last 10 years have seen some pretty good rainfall overall. Number two: when the refuge ban went into affect, most of the cattle related fences were taken down. Fences are a major barrier to pronghorn, as they are fast but not good jumpers. Number three: Prescribed burning has been practiced there recently, in an effort to bring the vegitation back to a more natural state. Number four: Coyotes have remained moderately few even with the increased number of pray in the refuge, helping the increase of other animals.
Really, which one of these issues is the real reason that wildlife is doing so well. The question needs to be, what effect will bringing back cattle have in the face of all these other changes?

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