| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY JULY 14,
2002 (2 pages total)
CONTACT: Martin Taylor, Center for Biological Diversity, 520 623 5252 x 307
Steve Chambers, Ventana Chapter Sierra Club, 831 425 1787
GRAZING ON PACIFIC VALLEY FLATS SUSPENDED
In response to a notice of impending legal action by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Los Padres National Forest has removed livestock from the Pacific Valley Flats unit of the Gorda grazing allotment, on the Big Sur coast of California. The Forest Service failed to prevent harm by domestic livestock to the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterfly and the Central California Coast Steelhead Trout on these sensitive lands.
Livestock that had been excluded from other allotments due to endangered species impacts, were moved onto the Gorda allotment in April 2003.
Livestock rapidly damaged stands of seacliff buckwheat, the only foodplant of the endangered Smith’s Blue Butterfly. Livestock may even have trampled and killed feeding caterpillars. Livestock also broke through fences into the Prewitt Ck preserve, critical habitat for endangered Steelhead Trout.
“ The Forest Service is just shifting the problem around instead of stopping it. It appears that they are more concerned with subsidizing the income of a few individuals than with the wider public good,” said Steve Chambers, Wilderness Chair, Ventana Chapter Sierra Club.
“ The Forest Service failed to meet even the simplest conditions that the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed they should do before putting cows back on - like fixing fences and drinking troughs, placing salt licks and moving a corral” explained Martin Taylor, Conservation Biologist with the Center.
In the process of discovering the violations, Boon Hughey, an Atascadero resident also found a tiny promontory inaccessible to cows which was carpeted with seacliff buckwheat while the adjacent areas open to cows had very few plants.
“ This demonstrates that effects of grazing on the foodplant of Smith’s Blue have been grossly underestimated by the Forest Service,” he said.
After the notice was sent to the Forest Service on July 8, the offending livestock were removed from Pacific Valley Flats.