Duck Creek Project

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Status

Data collected on the BLM’s Duck Creek Allotment for the past 18 years by Dr. John Carter, Y2U Staff Ecologist, has demonstrated that the BLM methods do not provide an objective and accurate depiction of rangeland health conditions or livestock forage consumption. During 2017 and 2018 Y2U attempted to address this concern by becoming involved in a cooperative effort to monitor utilization and analyze stocking rates on the Duck Creek allotment. The participants included BLM, Utah Grazing Improvement Program, Utah State University Ag Extension, Rich County Commissioners, Rich County Resource Management Group, Duck Creek permittees, Wild Utah Project, Western Watersheds Project and Y2U.  Due to Y2U and the other environmental groups strong commitment to science and objective decision making, BLM and the other parties withdrew from the effort citing a “lack of trust” stemming from past litigation between the involved parties, this group has dissolved.  Y2U had asked the BLM to participate in an evaluation of their monitoring methods regardless of the outcome of the collaboration.  BLM has thus far declined to work with Y2U in regard to cooperative monitoring of rangeland health on the Duck Creek Allotment, refusing repeated invitations to visit our monitoring locations and see for themselves the degradation of upland and riparian areas by livestock.  The BLM’s Office of Scientific Integrity requested that Dr. Carter peer review their national rangeland assessment.  This was done and submitted with numerous recommendations for more specificity.  Dr. John Carter, our Staff Ecologist, along with Allison Jones, Jonathan Ratner, Dr. Jim Catlin submitted a research paper which was published in Rangelands Journal refuting standard BLM and livestock industry grazing practices.  Dr. Carter is an expert witness in litigation initiated in January 2019 on this allotment.  Since Y2U was not a party to the original case filed in 2008, he is continuing this effort in support of the Western Watersheds Project lawsuit challenging the Department of Interior appeals process.

Work Plan

Y2U continues to monitor utilization and forage production on the Duck Creek allotment and continues to put pressure on BLM to accurately measure utilization and use accurate data and range science to affect management decisions including stocking rates.

Expected Outcome

Unknown at this time.