From: Cyndy Cole, The Arizona Daily Sun
Published July 26, 2005 12:00 AM

Environmental Groups Sue Feds over Grazing at Glen Canyon

Two environmental groups are suing the Bureau of Land Management, the Park Service and Interior Secretary Gale Norton over grazing in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.


The lawsuit filed Friday has implications for ranching in northern Arizona and southern Utah, including for those who ranch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Tucson's Center for Biological Diversity and another group that calls itself the Great Old Broads for Wilderness have charged the federal agencies with ignoring their own mission statement to protect natural resources in the parks and with recognizing in 1999 that the cattle were having a negative impact, but doing nothing about it.


"The Park Service itself recognized that there was this ecological degradation and they wrote a plan (to mitigate it)," Center for Biological Diversity's Greta Anderson said.


"...Now we just want them to follow it."


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The plan recognized that livestock grazing was damaging vegetation and archeological and recreation sites, the environmental groups said. It is home to 10 threatened or endangered species, they said.


The groups specifically charge that the BLM has been grazing cattle in ways that conflict with the Park Service's management plans and not doing the environmental assessments required by law beforehand.


There are 24 grazing allotments involved in the area affected by the lawsuit.


"We do have some areas that have been significantly impacted by cattle," said Hank Snyder, chief of interpretation and resource management at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.


Navajo Point, for example, had been used heavily by cattle, Snyder said. The pasture has been closed and willow cuttings have been planted in the wettest areas to help with restoration.


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Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News


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