Dirt and Cow Pies: EBRPD Hall of Shame, Chabot Regional Edition

09/23/2008 23:38

Welcome to Grass Valley, dead in the center of the EBRPD's Anthony Chabot Regional Park.  Sadly, it's not very grassy right now.

The EBRPD claims that their grazing program exists to "maintain and improve habitat conditions for resident plants and animals, and to prevent wildfires." (link)

California State Parks claims that "grazing or agricultural leasing is considered incompatible in units of the State Park system", and that "Effective fire hazard reduction is only achieved by overuse through livestock grazing." (link)

So who's right?  Let's look at the evidence.  These pictures of Grass Valley were taken this month -- September, 2008.

Soon after passing this gate:

 you'll notice these "detours", where cattle have trampled off the road in search of forage.

Then the trees open up, and you'll see meadows reduced to bare dirt and cow pies:

No, those aren't dirt clods.  Yes, this is the center of Anthony Chabot Regional Park.

Keep walking or riding...it doesn't get any better.

In fact, it gets worse.  This entire meadow, nearly a mile long, is entirely covered with bull thistles, an invasive, non-native species:

because, year after year, the cattle eat everything else down to the dirt.

Obviously the cows prefer native grasses and bushes to nasty, spiky bull thistles:

So much for the EBRPD's claim that "Livestock grazing controls the growth of the non-native grasses and herbs so that other desirable plants (wildflowers and native grasses) can regenerate and coexist with them."

Here's the worst part: all this damage was done over just a few weeks -- by approximately nine full-grown cattle and two calves.

The EBRPD maintains over 5,000 cattle, 1,000 sheep, and 1,000 goats in our parks and open space.  And now they want another $500 million to continue their abuse of public land.

You can help us stop this. 

Vote "No" on Measure WW!


(Want to do more?  Click here.)