Browsing All Posts filed under »Water«

The Elephant in the Room is a Cow — Grazing Impacts on So. Utah Forests

September 23, 2014

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My wife and I are both sixth generation Utahns. We own homes in both Salt Lake and Wayne counties. We were married in the Capitol Reef National Park outdoor amphitheater in 2010. Together we cherish the natural landscape of Utah, our pretty, great state. Except for one thing. We have become sensitized to the damage […]

Beaver and Goats

March 12, 2014

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boyz at the fallsSpring is here and my wife, Kirsten, and I are poking our heads out more and looking into environmental issues. In fact, it has felt like March in Utah since early February and it is good to get out. In addition my son, Nick, has been interning for Wild Utah Project and WildEarth Guardians, both environmental agencies. Kirsten hiked the Calf Creek Falls trail on Monday with her sister and two nephews strapped to their backs. Nick made a run down to Moab a couple of weeks ago to visit with the Forest Service, Wild Utah Project and the Grand Canyon Trust about exotic mountain goats recently plunked down on the La Sals. [ . . . more]

What uses most of the land and water without showing up in production?

February 6, 2012

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70% of the land in Utah is public. And 70% of that land is handed out for grazing. Over 80% of the water used in Utah is for agriculture and most of that is to grow hay for livestock. That is a lot of land and water. Open this chart on the left of the State of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert Economic Report's figures on employment by industry as a percent of total employment: Dec. 2011. Where's agriculture? The subsidized use of all that land and water isn't producing much, particularly jobs.

Ed Firmage lets the good old boys have it.

January 22, 2012

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Welfare Rancher?

In response to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune announcing that Utah State Engineer Kent Jones OK’d the use of Green River water to cool a proposed nuclear reactor, Ed Firmage Jr. posted a polished reply. Click title to see more.

Failure of Land Use Socialism

January 4, 2012

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There is nothing more harmful to the arid lands of the American West today than public land grazing. It is ironic that the Cato Institute, the leading libertarian, conservative think tank calls the results of over a century of grazing on public lands, " . . . a testimony to the failure of land-use socialism." Ouch. 70% of the over 300 million acres of public land in the West is grazed, producing less than 3% of the nation's beef. Agriculture is less than 1% of the western economies but uses nearly 80% of the water, much of that used to grow hay for to feed livestock. Ranching is a tiny little special interest. A rancher pays $1.35 per month to graze a cow and its calf. How much do you suppose it costs to feed a gerbil for a month? Yet the BLM, with $40 million of taxpayer stimulus money, wants to ignore the impact of grazing in their Rapid Ecoregional Assessments project to map ecological trends throughout the West. See more here . . . >>

American Drinking Water Gets a D-. Republicans want it to get an F.

December 9, 2011

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"Bipartisan analyses have repeatedly shown that the cost of environmental regulation is exponentially cheaper than the costs of toxic cleanup and medical care." And yet the fearful shriek that environmental regulation "kills jobs" while the hamstrung EPA can't even adequately test or develop standards for two-thirds of the pollutants detected in water. Enough already. . . . more>>

Our River Run Dry

November 18, 2011

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The Colorado River does not make it to the sea. It's all used up 70 miles before it gets there, leaving the Colorado River Delta parched. Over 75 percent of the water extracted goes to agriculture. Whenever something about water use comes up in the press, watering lawns always comes up. That is the wrong grass. It's not lawns draining the river, it's hay. Buying up the virtual property right of water rights from farmers and ranchers is called "water ranching." I'll try to find more on that in the future. In the meanwhile, here's a piece from the New York Times on the river, and another interesting blog from a recent author on the subject, Jonathan Waterman (great name.)