U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty ruled that grazing will be allowed on seven allotments in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest as part of a ruling issued Monday in Portland. The ruling lifts a ban on grazing in two allotments, Murderers Creek and Lower Middle Fork, issued by Haggerty in May 2008. Ranchers who rely on the national forest for grazing were expected to turn out their cattle on Friday, June 19.
Environmentalist groups involved in the lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service had requested that Haggerty completely prohibit cattle grazing in eight allotments in the national forest.
Testimony from forestry expert witnesses summoned by the U.S. Forest Service, on the other hand, “has established that the grazing proposals for 2009, if properly executed, will adequately protect riparian habitat.” During a hearing Friday, June 12, fish and stream experts countered allegations that grazing causes permanent damage to threatened steelhead habitat.
Excerpted from CapitalPress.