Attacks on Point Reyes’ ruling ignore ranch benefits – Marin Independent Journal

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Sadly, the anti-science and anti-vaccine “virus” that has infected people in so many parts of the United States – especially rural areas – appears to have mutated into an anti-science, anti-herding, or anti-herding mindset. land management in Marin County.

Bitter complaints about the National Park Service ignoring the thousands of letters supporting the authorization of elk wandering in the Point Reyes pastoral area ignore the extensive research and science commemorated in the Environmental Impact Assessment. amendment to the National Park Service General Management Plan for Point Reyes National Seashore, which can easily be found on the Park Service website.

The repeated misinformation about agriculture’s impact on the climate ignores the science behind the practice called “carbon farming,” one of the most powerful strategies available to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

It was developed here in Marin by breeders and others working with scientists at the University of California. This involves developing a “carbon farm plan” which typically uses multiple practices specific to the land to be managed.

They include such items as windbreaks, stream restoration, and the application of compost to grasslands with managed livestock grazing, as well as several dozen practices deployed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service since the Dust Bowl era of the United States. 1930s.

Repeating misinformation about the impact of grazing on native plants ignores the documented benefits of grazing in the park. Managed livestock grazing eliminates competition for soil nutrients and light that allow native plants to grow.

The endangered Sonoma thornflower is a specific example of an endangered plant that benefits from grazing.

Beginning in 1966, a 30-year study by Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory) at the Palomarin Field Station near Bolinas documented the reduction in the songbird population that corresponded to changes in grassland vegetation. to shrubs to the forest when grazing animals were removed. Point Blue ecologist Ryan Degaudio has examples of bird species that need at least 70 to 200 acres of grazed grassland to survive.

Repeating misinformation about the impact of grazing on native land, wildlife and plant species obscures the many benefits of leasing public land for grazing.

“We need to turn cattle into firefighters,” Lynn Huntsinger, University of California co-op extension specialist, wrote in a recent blog post. “Constant, deliberate and targeted grazing is necessary for fire management. “

The ranch roads provide access to the land. Their upkeep is an example of an infrastructure benefit of leasing land for grazing. From my perspective, just having a rancher on the land reduces the likelihood of intruders illegally growing marijuana there. We all know that illegal crops cause environmental and safety problems.

To protect grazing land, pastoralists serve as guards against the spread of invasive non-native species. The East Bay Regional Park District is just one example of a local agency that leases public land for grazing and takes the advantages of custody in account in setting their rental rates.

Some of the more aggressive voices attacking the park service were involved in the lawsuit which led to the preparation of a full environmental impact statement. Now they are threatening another trial.

An environmental impact study is not a popularity contest. It is not an election.

The decision to pursue ranching on the Point Reyes National Coastline was the result of understanding the science behind the options, as well as reviewing and considering feedback that provides substantial information on the options. environmental consequences of the alternatives.

The trampling, spreading misinformation about the process, and the threat of further lawsuits is not productive.

It is healthier for the land, plants and animals in the pastoral area of ​​our beloved park to follow the science and support sound land management practices.

Judy Teichman, a retired public law lawyer, lives in Point Reyes Station.

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