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Wasteland of thatch 


You only need to look at our road, where there is no grazing. Livestock to be cleared out of Carrizo Plains? This is not a good solution for the health and sustainability of Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve.

The question as I see it is not whether to graze cattle on the reserve, but how to graze cattle on the Carrizo Reserve.

There is an abundant supply of scientific papers that prove that grazing grasslands by herbivores has always been part of Mother Nature’s plan for renewable grassland. The picture used in your article (“Livestock to be cleared out of Carrizo Plains,” Jan. 13) is meant to mislead your readers, for it’s easy to take a picture that shows obvious abuse—and maybe this is indicative of the whole 30,000-acre reserve, but I seriously doubt it. Andrew Christie, executive director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, made one of his usual insatiable needs to divide reasonable people who graze our grasslands and ecologists who know what they’re talking about with his, “The place was being trashed.”

I don’t think Christie knows what he is talking about, because these rangelands can also “be trashed,” as he would say, by no grazing. They can be turned into a pasture of thatch, much like our roadsides that are never grazed, and their health is certainly wanting.

But I think some questions need to be answered, like “Why would you rent this reserve to somebody from Oregon when there are qualified ranchers close to the reserve who could use grazing practices that, when implemented, can return grasslands back to a healthy vibrant condition?” “Was the picture in your article representative of the reserve or just a ploy to stop a real solution if there is damage being done?”

In closing, I hope unintended consequences don’t end up doing more damage because an irresponsible article in New Times undermines the chance for people to understand that proper grazing benefits a blade of grass and other critters that call the Carrizo Plains home.

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