The Purpose of this Blog

In 2012, the head of the Utah Grazing Improvement Program (UGIP) asked me to critique a letter written by the director of Wild Utah Project, a Utah environmental group. The letter was handed out to the members at the Utah BLM RAC Board Meeting regarding their sage-grouse management plan. My job was to evaluate the scientific literature cited in the letter and determine if it was used correctly. The letter was 25 pages and contained 99 references. I agreed to check all references that were from peer-reviewed journals or 47 references. I returned a 15-page report outlining how the literature cited in the letter was misused.

Since writing that report, I’ve read many articles written by advocacy groups that misuse or ignore scientific information or present inaccurate information. In addition, environmental groups are filing more and more lawsuits accusing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service (USFS) of poor land management practices and not following federal procedures. Websites sponsored by environmental groups often charge the Forest Service and BLM for mismanaging livestock grazing on public lands.

I believe these websites give people who are unaware of public land issues an extremely negative, distorted view of the BLM, USFS and western ranchers. My current role in extension is to take university research findings about rangeland management and put this information in a form that can be used by both public and private land mangers. As an extension agent, I am an advocate for science and sustainable agriculture.

However, I am not an advocate for ranchers or agency personnel who mismanage grazing on public lands. I started this blog to counter the misinformation presented by different advocacy groups about grazing on public lands. In addition, this blog will provide information on how public lands are managed by the federal government. With every blog post, I will cite references to support my position so that you—the reader—can check the information presented.

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