Late yesterday afternoon Winmill decided that ranchers could continue to graze on 17 allotments in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Jarbidge Resource Area.
Grazing permits within the Jarbidge area have been contested for several years. Winmill’s latest decision in March suspended grazing on the 17 allotments. Shortly after the ban ranchers filed a motion to reverse the decision.
The ranchers argued that they and the BLM help protect both the land and sage grouse habitat. A decline in the grouse population, they argued, comes from wildfires, not grazing. The most damage to habitat they argued came from the 2007 Murphy Complex Fire, that burned more than 650,000 acres on the range.“The experts on both sides agree that the (grouse) decline is due largely to the destruction of habitat by wildfire,” Winmill wrote in his order.