From: Greg L Munther, Chairman, Montana Chapter
To: Steve Bell
Rangeland Management Specialist
Bureau of Land Management
3255 Fort Missoula Road
Missoula, MT 59804-7293
Dear Mr. Bell:
This letter is in regards to range condition of the Arrastra Creek lands under BLM management.
Some members of Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers hunt regularly on BLM lands in the Arrastra Creek drainage and they are upset over the poor condition of the range there. It is readily apparent these BLM lands have been heavily overused by cattle with resulting damage to the range and riparian areas. According to our members observations this grazing overuse has been occurring for several years. They fear that this grazing abuse will result in permanent damage to the resource, such as fostering noxious weed invasions and soil compaction. I am attaching 3 photos which show the extreme grazing overuse which occurred on Arrastra Creek this past summer and fall.
The Arastra Creek grazing allotment is within the Marcum-Kershaw Mountains Block Management Area . Because this BMA is a walk in hunting area, it provides the kind of backcountry hunting experience members of our organization seek. The area provides habitat for an important population of elk and deer, as well as grouse and other hunted species. Grazing standards usually include stubble height retention as well as encourage rest rotation grazing systems. Those standards are likely not being met, in our opinion. In addition important and accessible wildlife habitat is justification for more conservative management than just the forage resource demands.
Every BLM grazing allotment has standards which limit cattle numbers, limit the length of the grazing season, set stubble height and overall provide for a healthy range. Please provide us with the standards for the Arrastra Creek allotment as well as monitoring results. At present it almost appears there are no active management of grazing in this allotment.
We request you furnish us with Arrastra Creek grazing standands and monitoring to assure those standards are being met. In addition we request you inform us of how grazing will be different on this allotment in 2012. We may be contacted at the above address or email [email protected].
Greg L Munther
Chairman, Montana Chapter
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers