Ranchers slate ‘Grass Tour’ for Saturday on Mount Lewis

Grant and Travis Gerber on Grass March in May. (Cris Voss photo via Elko Daily Free Press)

In May the Bureau of Land Management relented and announced it had come to a year-long deal with ranchers on the Argenta allotment on Mount Lewis in the Battle Mountain District to allow grazing. The BLM reneged recently.

At the end of July the BLM told ranchers using the Mount Lewis that “triggers” had been met and cattle must be removed in seven days.

“We must remove the cattle from our summer grazing country on the mountain, where there is ample feed and adequate water, to the flat, where there is very little of either,” Pete Tomera told the Elko Daily Free Press.

To highlight their plight ranchers have scheduled a second Grass Tour for 9 a.m. Saturday. It will start at the Tomera’s Martin Ranch home and is intended to show that the BLM is using select monitoring sites to justify closing off vast swaths of grazable land.

John Carpenter, chairman of the Committee for Sustainable Grazing, has extended a personal invitation to the Battle Mountain BLM manager Doug Furtado to attend.

In the invitation, Carpenter said

I feel the temporary electric fences around the “postage stamp” riparian areas need to be constructed as soon as possible as provided by the BLM Drought Management Environmental Analysis.

It is imperative for these fences to be constructed to protect the riparian areas, as well as to enable the permitted individuals to use the public land for livestock grazing, as allowed and encouraged by the Taylor Grazing Act. These small riparian areas, as administered by the BLM, are preventing the livestock users from using their private land and water rights.

I was encouraged at the meeting I attended on Friday, August 1, at which you indicated there would be cooperation between the permitted individuals and Bureau of Land Management. I am less encouraged now, as I feel the BLM is not willing to institute measures that are recommended in their Drought Management Environmental Analysis.


Bob Schweigert of Intermountain Range Consultants in Winnemucca says ranchers had to sign new grazing agreements with the BLM in May and the BLM is violating terms of that agreement.

The BLM agreed to review key monitoring locations in coordination with permittees in early June but the scheduled monitoring was canceled. Instead a rancher came across BLM employees conducting monitoring without any ranchers present. Another monitoring outing was scheduled on short notice while permittees were away from the area, and testing was done without ranchers present.

“They lied to us again,” rancher Eddyann Filippini told the Elko paper. “Furtado can’t be trusted and we don’t trust the data they collect from the range monitoring sites when they don’t allow us to accompany them.”

It is like going up against the Sheriff of Nottingham, who has absolute authority and is answerable to no one.

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