| PRESS RELEASE: December
ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE FIGHTS PUBLIC LAND GRAZING ON BIG SUR COAST
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Ventana Wilderness Alliance have appealed the recent decision of the Los Padres National Forest to allow renewed cattle grazing on federal lands in the Los Padres National Forest next to the Silver Peak and Ventana Wilderness areas on the Big Sur coast.
The eight federal grazing allotments range from Torre Canyon below Big Sur State Park to San Carpoforo Creek on the Monterey/San Luis Obispo County line.
The Forest Service plans to keep two small allotments closed to grazing and to close a third allotment in the Cone Peak Research Natural Area. However the FS intends not only to continue grazing on most of the coast, but will actually throw new areas open to livestock around Salmon Creek, Cozy Cove and San Carpoforo Creek. The number of livestock using the public lands in the coastal areas is set to increase by nearly 100 from 268 to 362.
The Forest Service has ignored countless objections to livestock on these public lands from the many citizens who visit these areas to enjoy natural beauty and wildlife. Their proposal to stop the conflicts between cows and nature are just cosmetic changes and promises to do better. If they havent been doing better up until now, how can we believe the Forest Service will improve the situation? observed Steve Chambers, of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance.
We have uncovered multiple failures to meet the standards of at least seven federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act explained Dr. Martin Taylor, coordinator of the Grazing Reform Program with the Tucson office of the Center for Biological Diversity. The Forest Service didnt consider a great deal of scientific evidence or even data in their own records showing that livestock are degrading habitat for at least three endangered species, the Steelhead, the Red Legged Frog and Smiths blue butterfly. Their reasoning is inconsistent -- saying they are closing some allotments to protect species and other resources from cows while saying they are keeping other allotments open to protect the same things!
The two groups expressed alarm that the Forest Service is actually increasing the number of livestock on the allotments, despite the well-documented damage done by cattle ranching to the public lands on this biologically unique and spectacular coastline.
A copy of the appeal is posted online