The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is considering reopening historic sheep allotments near Bridgeport, CA to cattle grazing. The project area covers roughly 20,000 acres of public land in the Cameron Canyon, Jordon Basin, Dunderburg, and Summer Meadows areas, west of highway 395 and south of the community of Bridgeport. Due to the listing of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in 1999 and the significant threat of disease transmission to wild sheep, domestic sheep grazing permits were cancelled in 2010 and 2014, respectively.
After nearly a decade of recovery from grazing these meadows, uplands and riparian systems have been allowed to rest and have staged a remarkable recovery. The Forest Service is now responding to a lawsuit by the permittee where a settlement was reached to produce an EA for conversion of these allotments to cattle grazing. A portion of the USFSs proposed action falls within the Hoover Wilderness, critical habitat for Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep, as well as Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog and Bi-state Sage Grouse habitat. There are significant concerns about impact to recreational uses in this high use area, as well as Mule Deer hunting resources.
Due to the significant and cumulative impacts of grazing in this area, it is clear the Forest needs to complete a full environmental review through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The proposed action would allow grazing between May 15-Oct 31 and proposes to use eight miles of existing livestock fencing with the majority of cattle management occurring through the use of range riders and herders. The USFS would monitor these activities once a year. Issues to be analyzed in the EA (which we previously raised in our scoping comments on June 7, 2018) include impacts to special status animal and plant species, the spread of invasive weeds, meadows and riparian areas, water quality, recreational uses including camping, hunting, fishing, OHV travel and hiking and cultural resources. The Forest Service has the authority to decline grazing permits in order to protect endangered species without a plan amendment, and this should be analyzed.
Raise Your voice before august 5, 2019
Ask the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to complete an EIS with a full analysis of a range of alternatives for this project.
The comment portal is available HERE. Comments are due August 5, 2019
Send an Email:
You can email written comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bridgeport Southwest Rangeland Project documents, including the Notice of Proposed Action are available HERE.