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This page last updated February 08, 2009

RangeNet Project
Project WPLGAlbum

Page 3: Grazing in Utah's Great Basin
by: Christopher "Chris" Christie
August, 2000

Disclaimer: The locations of photographs in  this album have not been determined through survey. Due to the intermingled nature of land ownerships throughout much of the west, some photographs where the context or caption imply or otherwise indicate government ownership may actually be located on intermingled or adjoining private lands.

Cane Springs Revisited

Picture 23: Cane Springs - Bovine Sewer. This is the same spring as in picture 14, but was taken about 5 years later (July 8, 2000) looking in the opposite direction. As mentioned earlier, BLM management has resulted in few changes at the spring over that period, except for the addition of 3 dead cows with skeletons bleaching in the desert sun (2 in pic, foreground and background). New grazing "improvements" on this (East Fish Springs) allotment were noted in the form of a water development in the uplands which will serve to expand the damage being done.

Picture 24: Cows and Water Development in Uplands South West of Cane Springs (July 2000). Developments of this sort are commonly added to spread out the cows and the damage by taking pressure off the favored sites (Cane Springs in this case). Just as commonly, the efforts fail. Damage is continuing unabated at the favored sites near Cane Springs, and, because of the water development, is now being spread further into the uplands.

Picture 25: Cows Expanding Damage to Uplands Near New Water Development. As the picture indicates, there is little "forage" available in the uplands outside of the riparian spring area, which is why the springs get hammered. The bunch grass component of this Shadescale, Ephedra and Gutierrezia community has been nearly eliminated and the cattle are utilizing the shrubs. Nearby sheep allotments (picture 26) shows similar plant community with bunch grass component. The disturbance is also facilitating the spread of noxious weeds such as halogeton. Why would anyone in their right mind put cows out here on this desert????

Picture 26: Bunchgrass Component of Nearby Shrub Community on Sand Pass Sheep Allotment This picture shows the difference in available grass between nearby cattle and sheep allotments. While the shrubs are anything but robust, because sheep browse shrubs more than they graze grass, the grass component of this desert shrub community, while dormant, is still flourishing (Straw colored plants forground and background). Compare this community to that in picture 25.